On the Scene: Paris Launches 2024 Olympics Victory Lap

(ATR) The Paris bid steals the spotlight Sunday in Lima as Los Angeles jets to Peru.

(ATR) Paris steals the spotlight Sunday in Lima as the expected host of the 2024 Olympics.

Dozens of French media turned out for press events organized by the Paris 2024 team ahead of the IOC Session this week in the Peruvian capital. Click here for photos from the event.

Paris is expected to be named the 2024 Summer Olympic city on September 13 while Los Angeles will be ratified in the same vote for 2028. It's only the second time for a "twin" award and is an abrupt change from the tension-filled votes for Olympic hosts that have characterized recent campaigns for the Games.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and bid chair Tony Estanguet are the tip of the spear for this campaign, finally scoring success for a Paris Summer Olympic bid after three previous attempts since 1986.

A contingent numbering 60 is backing up the leadership. It includes IOC member Guy Drut, French NOC President Denis Masseglia and Bernard Lapasset,who shares the chairmanship with Estanguet, 25 years his junior. Twice a gold medalist in canoe slalom, Estanguet presents a youthful image for Paris, making him the de facto bid leader.

Hidalgo, the highest ranking government leader from France to make the trip to Lima, remains the leading political figure for the bid. Sunday, dressed in jeans topped by a Lacoste polo, her casual garb matched the relaxed atmosphere ahead of the IOC Session.

Ordinarily, these days ahead of the IOC Session vote for a host city are marked by feverish campaigning and anxiety among the candidates. Paris versus Los Angeles could have been a clash of Titans. But with the IOC deciding in July to award the 2024 and 2028 cities at the same time, there is little for either city to do but be gracious.

Absent a turbo-charged finish for what started as a race for the 2024 Olympics, Los Angeles felt no need to bring its team any earlier than necessary. Mayor Eric Garcetti, bid chair Casey Wasserman, vice chair Janet Evans and the three IOC members in the U.S. won’t arrive in Lima until late Sunday.

The disregard of U.S. media for this Olympic decision is obvious, with zero presence of mainstream press from Los Angeles at thebriefings by Paris Sunday. Even Olympic TV behemoth NBC is staying home while the Madrid-based Olympic Channel has sent a crew.

Both cities are sending substantially fewer people to Lima than would ordinarily be the case. Paris and Los Angeles had originally made plans for as many as 300 people from each city to travel to Peru. With one third those numbers actually making the trip, the biggest impact may be felt by hotels in Lima, deprived of the bonanza of hordes of free-spending Olympic boosters.

The IOC is content to avoid a noisy showdown between the bidcitiesthis week, especially with the blooming of a new scandal over IOC vote-buying. Carlos Nuzman, former IOC member and still the president of Rio 2016, is accused by Brazilian investigators of involvement in a scheme to bribe IOC members for their votes in 2009.

Tuesday morning, as the IOC Executive Board wraps up its two-day meeting ahead of the IOC Session, Nuzman will be in a Brazilian court. He’ll be asking for the return of his passports, which included one from Russia, supposedly issued as a thank-you from the government for his vote in 2007 for Sochi as the 2014 Olympic host. Without the travel documents he may miss his first IOC Session in many years. The IOC may not regret his absence.

It’s not exactly clear how or if the IOC EB or the IOC Session may deal with the Nuzman scandal. Without formal charges against Nuzman, the IOC can do little except offer statements that innocence is presumed until a court finds otherwise.

The Nuzman controversy, fueled by a police raid of Nuzman’s home in Rio last week that seized passports and cash, has also generated a new round of attention to whether Tokyo used bribery to win its campaign for the 2020 Olympics.

Tokyo bid leaders say they didn’t, but a prosecutor in France working on the investigation assures Around the Rings that the case is active.

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Written and reported in Lima by Ed Hula.

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