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Olympic voters weigh Trump effect on LA 2024 bid

Published:Thursday | November 10, 2016 | 11:00 AM
Trump

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP):

Donald Trump's election as US president has the potential to influence Los Angeles' chances of hosting the 2024 Olympics. For better or worse.

Some International Olympic Committee (IOC) members - who will choose between Los Angeles, Paris and Budapest, Hungary, in a vote next September - cited possible pros and cons of Trump's role in the American bid.

As a polarising presidential candidate, Trump's words on Muslims, Mexicans and other issues could have offended some of the 98 IOC members from around the world who will select the host city.

"It may have," the IOC's longest-serving member, Dick Pound of Canada, told The Associated Press (AP).

At the same time, Pound did not rule out the possibility that Trump could help win votes if he travels to Lima, Peru, in September to pitch the Los Angeles bid in person to the IOC ahead of the secret ballot.

South African IOC member Sam Ramsamy, whose country has been described by Trump as a "very dangerous mess," dismissed any lingering effect with 10 months left before the 2024 Olympic vote.

"He has been rude to everybody," Ramsamy told the AP. "I don't believe it will affect bidding in any way."

In a statement Wednesday congratulating Trump, the Los Angeles 2024 bid committee said the Olympics can "transcend politics and can help unify our diverse communities and our world."

IOC President Thomas Bach offered a brief statement to the AP on Trump's election.

"Let me congratulate President-elect Trump on his victory and wish him all the best for his term in office for all the people of the United States and of the world," he said.

While Trump has little track record with the Olympic movement, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, was a supporter of New York's failed bid for the 2012 Games and has attended several Olympics. She was First Lady when the US last hosted the Summer Games - in Atlanta in 1996.

 

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Pound believes Los Angeles leaders will urgently want to meet with Trump to see if he is "an enthusiastic supporter of this venture or not."

"Your most important campaign is at home," Pound said, suggesting that IOC voters and Olympic sports leaders can be swayed closer to election day. "The roadshow only happens in the last few months."

Before that final stretch of campaigning, the city's biggest rival - Paris - could have its own domestic politics to explain.

In May, France elects a president in a contest many predict will include far-right candidate Marine Le Pen among the two candidates in a second round of voting.