German officials endorse Hamburg’s bid for 2024 Olympics

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Hamburg’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics was approved unanimously by members of Germany’s national Olympic body on Saturday.

With no abstentions, 410 officials at the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) general assembly ratified the decision by its board to put forward the northern port city as a candidate over Berlin’s rival bid.

The vote was taken after 2 1/2 hours of speeches from various officials, including German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere and Hamburg mayor Olaf Scholz.

”It can’t be that everyone enjoys looking at Olympic Games but doesn’t trust us to organize them. We can do it,” Scholz said.

DOSB president Alfons Hoermann said the decision was a ”turning point” for German sports, and that Hamburg’s bid will be orientated toward the International Olympic Committee’s reforms for more transparency.

”We want to be an example for an Olympic and Paralympic future,” said Hoermann, who praised Hamburg’s ”fascinating and compact Olympic concept.”

Berlin mayor Michael Mueller said the German capital would support Hamburg’s bid despite its own disappointment of losing out.

”It still hurts,” Mueller said of Monday’s decision.

Hamburg’s bid still has to pass a referendum later this year in the city, which has a population of about 1.7 million. A recent poll commissioned by the committee had 64 percent of Hamburg’s residents backing an Olympic bid. Opponents were already campaigning against it.

The DOSB has until Sept. 15 to officially present Hamburg as a candidate to the IOC. Boston and Rome have already announced bids for the 2024 Games and Paris is also expected to join the field. Other possible contenders include Baku, Azerbaijan; Budapest, Hungary; and Istanbul, Turkey.

The host city will be selected in 2017. Hamburg will likely bid for the 2028 Olympics if it misses out on the 2024 Games.

Germany has not staged an Olympics since the 1972 Summer Games in Munich.

Munich failed in a bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics and dropped a planned bid for the 2022 Winter Games after it was rejected in a referendum.