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L.A., Paris Are Now The Strongest Candidates For 2024 Olympics As Rome's Chances Take A Hit

Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles speaks during a LA2024 press conference at the Rio games.(Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
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In the bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, L.A. and Paris are now head-to-head in the final leg of the race.

Virginia Raggi, Rome's newly elected mayor, has officially announced her opposition to her city's bid to host the games, reports the L.A. Times. She said at a news conference that it would be "irresponsible" to bring the games to the Italian capital, adding that the "Olympics are not sustainable" and that the event "will bring only debt." According to the OC Register, Rome's bid had a price tag of $27.5 million, with 83% of that covered by public funds. The city currently faces a $14.6 billion debt.

Raggi's announcement pretty much puts an end to Rome's chances. As noted at the Times, the support of local politicians is vital, because they're expected to be held responsible for any cost overruns that happen from the games.

The "Roma 2024" committee, the official backers of Rome's bid, didn't take the news lightly. Roma 2024 posted some (very) blatant photos showing what Rome's "future" will look like without the potential billions of euros in investments:

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With Rome backing out, the remaining candidates are L.A., Paris, and Budapest. Though, according to the Times, Budapest is a big underdog in this grouping. Boston, Hamburg, and Toronto had all dropped out of the bidding in the past year or so.

Raggi is possibly on the right track. Hosting the Olympics is a prohibitively expensive affair. According the Quartz, Rio was looking at an initial estimate of $4.6 billion, but it's probably even more than that. The London Summer Games is estimated to have cost $15 billion in total. The 2004 Olympics, which cost 9 billion euros, helped send host nation Greece into a brutal economic depression.

Supporters of the Games say that the event is a way of boosting a city's (and nation's) visibility, and in turn generate revenue. A government survey about the London Olympics said that the games will end up generating tens of billions of pounds, but, as one sports economist told the BBC, it's difficult to prove that there's any revenue stemming from the event. "It's almost like a bit of creative accounting. There's no way of testing whether what they're saying is really true," Stefan Szymanski said of the study.

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It should be noted that, in 1984, L.A. hosted what is considered to be one of the most cost-effective Olympic Games in history. One big reason for the success was that L.A. had chosen to use its existing infrastructure of sports facilities, instead of building new, massive arenas. Another reason was that the games were backed by corporate sponsorships, private fundraising, and television deals, according to Gizmodo.

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