Saturday, March 4, 2017

They Weren't Hungary Enough

The Hungarian capital city of Budapest (below), which was vying to be the first city from the old Warsaw Pact bloc since 1980 to host the Summer Olympics, is vying no more.  A combination of local politics and doubts about the costs involved caused the city to withdraw its bid for the 2024 Games. It looks like the athletes aren't going to be sampling authentic goulash after all.
To be fair, Budapest was a long shot, going against two cities that had the experience and the resources to pull off a summer Olympiad, Los Angeles and Paris.  Many people in Hungary didn't want the Games, being fearful that the costs would invite corruption.  Budapest's city fathers were reluctant about the whole idea, only having gone along with it because the Hungarian Olympic Committee was urging them to. Katinka Hosszú must really be bummed about the lost opportunity to shoot for swimming in the Olympics with a home-court (or home-pool) advantage.
This leaves only Los Angeles and Paris remaining in contention for the 2024 Games.  My money is on Paris.  See, French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron is likely to finish behind right-wing extremist Marine Le Pen in France's presidential election this spring.  But because of François Fillon, the third candidate, no one will get a majority, and so there will be a runoff.  However, once Fillon - whose downfall is the most rapid one I've ever seen of a candidate for national office since Gary Hart in These States back in the late eighties - is out of the way, Macron should defeat Le Pen easily in the runoff.  Thus, France will have a respectable president, whereas we'll still have Donald Trump.  And as I wrote back in November, the International Olympic Committee is probably in no mood to award the Games to a country that elects a rhymes-with-glass-pole as its leader, like Trump . . . or Le Pen.  Also, Paris hasn't hosted the Games since 1924, and Los Angeles has hosted it twice since then.  And, Paris has lots of culture.  Los Angeles's culture is restricted to the yogurt section at the local Safeway.
In fact, I'm rooting for Paris.  Yes, I know that my Olympic heartthrob Janet Evans is Vice Chair of the Athletes Commission for the Los Angeles bid.  And believe me, it kills me to have to take a position against hers, but it's nothing personal. 

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