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Parisian Olympic Officials Caught Checking Out Proposed L.A. Venues

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Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum via Shutterstock
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A few of the top officials from rival city Paris' 2024 Olympic bid committee visited Los Angeles this week to, let's say, check out our assets. As the L.A. Times reports, casing out the competition isn't against any of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) rules, but the fact that the Parisians were in SoCal caught members of L.A.'s own bid committee by surprise.

"While surprising, we have no objection to Paris 2024 leaders wanting to tour our venues because they are not secrets," LA 2024 spokesman Jeff Millman said, to the Times.

Apparently, the French arrived in L.A. sometime on Wednesday. Officials representing USC told the Times that members of the bid committee's executive leadership spent several hours touring the university's facilities, its under-construction university village, the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, and USC's Galen Center.

The French bid team members, including the Paris 2024 Chief Executive Etienne Thobois, were scheduled to visit UCLA on Thursday. While UCLA officials confirmed, to KNBC, that members of the French consulate had toured the school's Pauley Pavilion, members of the bid-team were no-shows after after the television station's cameras captured the consulate members touring at UCLA.

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Paris and L.A. are accepted as the two frontrunners to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2024. Rome and Budapest are also in the running.

If L.A. is chosen to host the 2024 Olympics, the L.A. Memorial Coliseum will become the only stadium to host the olympics three times. Originally built for the 1932 games, the Coliseum also hosted the 1984 games.

Writing for the website GamesBids.com, Robert Livingstone argued that most of the infrastructure L.A. would need to host the games is already built, contrast Paris'.

The fact that virtually all proposed L.A. venues are today available for Paris executives to tour must be unnerving for the French team, and their need to downplay whichever L.A. venues they can as an integral part of their plans has become apparent. With over 14 months until the IOC election, the animosity in this race has become real.

"Our facilities that we would use if we're honored to host the 2024 Olympic Games are world class," said former olympian and LA 2024 committee member Janet Evans to KNBC. "They're amazing venues and when the world comes to Los Angeles in 2024 we'll be ready to host the world's best athletes.

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The host city will be chosen at the IOC's September 2017 meeting in Lima.