As Pan Am Games wind down, Toronto examines 2024 Olympic bid
TORONTO (AP) Organizers want to keep the focus on the Pan American Games until rapper Kanye West brings down the curtain in Sunday’s closing ceremony.
But Canada’s largest city is being overtaken by something larger than the Pan Am Games, the 2024 Olympics, and the increasing likelihood Toronto will bid for it.
Marcel Aubut, the president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, has a news conference scheduled on Sunday, when some expect him to give a bid the green light. He has already said Canada should see the Olympics as a ”priority,” and has added that Toronto is the only city in Canada with much of the sporting infrastructure already in place.
Toronto could be moving in just as Boston’s bid is faltering with local approval running below 50 percent.
Boston is in the mix with Budapest, Hungary; Hamburg, Germany; Paris; and Rome.
North America has not hosted a summer games since 1996 in Atlanta, and from an American perspective, it would still feel like ”home country games” with the Canadian government picking up the bills.
If a bid is approved, the COC must move quickly, as bidders must declare their intentions to the IOC by Sept. 15.
Toronto has many venues in place from the Pan Am Games, but lacks a centerpiece track and field stadium.
”Toronto’s a fairly well-kept secret to the rest of the world,” Toronto Mayor John Tory told The Associated Press.
Some of the Olympic momentum is driven by the success of Canadian athletes in the Pan Ams. On Saturday, Canada won its 197th medal, breaking its Pan Am record of 196 with a full day of competition remaining.
The Canadians will finish No. 2 in the medal table behind the United States, which is competing with what a top official called its ”B and C team.” The Americans have won twice as many medals as anyone else in the 64-year history of the games.
Toronto lost two recent Olympics bids – to Atlanta for the 1996 games and Beijing for 2008. Canada has spent $2.5 billion Canadian ($2 billion) organizing the Pan Am Games, 10 times more than Winnipeg spent 16 years ago, and about three times what Guadalajara, Mexico, spent four years ago.
Stephen Wade on Twitter: http://twitter.com/StephenWadeAP