Monday, June 24, 2024

Foreign minister wants to see Mexico host the 2036 Summer Olympics

Mexico’s Olympic Committee and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs have signed an agreement to promote Mexican athletics that they hope will lead to Mexico hosting the 2036 Summer Olympics, Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced Thursday.

“Let’s make a plan so that we can take it to the president of the republic, and if he authorizes it, then we will start working with all Mexican authorities so that we have the Olympic Games in Mexico in 2036,” he said in a ceremony held in Plaza Olímpica outside the Olympic Committee’s offices in Mexico City.

The last time Mexico hosted the Olympics was in 1968 when, after failed bids to land the 1956 and 1960 games, Mexico City played host to the XIX Olympiad from October 12 to 27.

Those games were notable for a number of reasons from the Mexican army’s October 2 massacre of 200 to 400 unarmed students who were protesting the upcoming Olympics to U.S. medal-winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists on the victory stand in a salute to Black power to American Bob Beamon leaping 8.9 meters in the long jump for an Olympic record that still stands 54 years later.

Tlatelolco Massacre of 1968
The Mexican military detains protesters at what came to be known as the Tlatelolco massacre of 1968.

Beamon’s jump, which broke the previous record by a whopping 55 centimeters, and other track and field events were affected by Mexico City being situated 2,240 meters above sea level; no other Summer Olympics before or since has been held at such a high elevation.

As Ebrard spoke glowingly about the prospect of Mexico hosting its second Olympics, he was flanked by several elite Mexican athletes, including past Olympic medalists. He pointed to their “spirit” and “conviction” as a driving force behind his efforts.

Toward the end of his remarks, Ebrard proclaimed, “If we could bring another Olympics to Mexico, why not?”

Later on Twitter, he added: “If President López Obrador authorizes it, we will begin.”

On Facebook, he wrote: “Thanks to the effort of teams, athletes, coaches, trainers, all the people who dedicate their lives to their disciplines, Mexico has an outstanding role in international sport. Let’s go for more!”

The agreement was signed by Ebrard and Mexican Olympic Committee president Mary José Alcalá, a former world-class diver who had top-10 finishes in the Summer Games of 1988 in Seoul and 1992 in Barcelona. “We are your allies,” Alcalá, 50, stated.

The agreement is not a game plan for Mexico to pursue hosting the Olympics. Rather, it’s a pact that will promote and develop athletic endeavors within Mexico as well as provide support to athletes, coaches, directors and staff of Mexico’s sports federations and delegations when they compete throughout the world.

“This agreement is sports diplomacy, which means facilitating and supporting Mexican athletes” at home and on the international stage, Ebrard said. “Make life easier for them and promote the presence of Mexican sports in all spaces, in all sports competitions that we can.”

He also took a few seconds to address skeptics who said his talk of the Olympics is a political stunt, as Ebrard, who was appointed foreign minister by López Obrador in 2018, might be a candidate for president in 2024. His goal is one that transcends politics, he said, adding, “It’s going to take us 20 years. There’s going to be a lot of elections” in that time span.

The last Summer Olympics were held in 2021 in Tokyo, one year after their original dates because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2024 Summer Games will be in Paris, followed by 2028 in Los Angeles and 2032 in Brisbane, Australia. Ebrard said he was open to Mexico hosting in either 2036 or 2040.

“Time is not that important. We are not thinking about it for a short-term benefit, but for Mexico to be on the international scene,” he said. “It would be an honor for Mexico to be the venue again.”

With reports from Milenio and ESPN

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