The president of the International Olympic Committee said a lot of nice things about Los Angeles on Monday after visiting proposed venues for the 2024 Games. But if he has a favorite among the four cities competing to host the international competition, he didn't share it.
Thomas Bach, a former Olympian, smiled as he booted a soccer ball around a playing field with Mayor Eric Garcetti at UCLA, recently named the site of the proposed Olympic village. He praised the preparation and professionalism of the Los Angeles bid committee, calling it a strong team with a strong proposal.
But he didn't offer any hints about early leads. He noted the 2024 contest would have only a single winner — no silver or bronze medals.
"We have a fascinating competition ahead of us," Bach told reporters.
Bach toured athletic and housing on campus, including a stop at Pauley Pavilion, home to the university's basketball team. On Sunday, Bach and his delegation checked out Staples Center, another proposed venue for the 2024 Games, when they watched the Los Angeles Lakers play the Charlotte Hornets.
Along with Garcetti, he was accompanied by Olympic stars of the past, including multi-gold medalist Carl Lewis and gymnast Nadia Comaneci.
Los Angeles is up against Rome, Paris and Budapest, Hungary to host the 2024 Olympics. The German port city of Hamburg dropped out of the race after the bid was rejected in a referendum.
The International Olympic Committee will make the selection in 2017.
Bach's visit comes five months after the city was selected as the U.S. candidate for the international sporting event, after the bid from first-choice Boston soured.
Los Angeles was home to the Olympics in 1932 and 1984.