Saturday, June 15, 2024

Mexico sets sights on hosting Olympics in 2036 or 2040

Mexico is officially vying to host the Summer Olympic Games for a second time in 2036.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Mexican Olympic Committee president María José Alcalá Izguerra announced Wednesday that Mexico was bidding to host the Games in the former year but would set its sights on 2040 if unsuccessful.

“Our goal is to bring the Olympic Games to Mexico in 2036, or if not [that year] 2040 because that’s the way the system works,” Ebrard told a press conference.

“You nominate for one year and … you can compete again [to host the following Olympics] if you’re not chosen by the International Olympic Committee. Of course we know that there are other cities [that will compete to host the Games], it’s a competition,” he said.

The foreign minister didn’t nominate a potential host city, but Mexico City – which in 1968 became the first Latin American city to host the Olympics – would appear to be the most likely candidate.

Ebrard asserted that Mexico is a strong contender to host the quadrennial sporting event, the next edition of which will be held in Paris in 2024. “We see ourselves as a winning, successful, ambitious country that is respectful of international norms,” he said.

“… Mexico is a sporting power and a vigorous country with a strong democracy, solid institutions and an economy that is today one of the best in the world,” said Ebrard, who could be in a position to oversee Mexico’s preparations to host the Olympics if he achieves his goal of securing the ruling Morena party’s nomination and winning the 2024 presidential election.

He also noted that in 2026 Mexico will become the only country to have hosted three FIFA World Cups.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Mexican Olympic Committee president María José Alcalá Izguerra announced Mexico's goal to once again host the Olympics at a Wednesday press conference.
Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Mexican Olympic Committee president María José Alcalá Izguerra announced Mexico’s goal to once again host the Olympics at a Wednesday press conference. Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores

Alcalá said that Mexico has been considered a viable candidate to host a future Olympics since July, when International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach sent a letter expressing his support for a bid.

Ana Gabriela Guevara, an Olympic medalist and current director of the National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport, asserted before Wednesday’s press conference that it was economically unfeasible for Mexico to host the Games.

But Ebrard said that the way in which Olympics are financed has changed and that the federal government would cover just 10% of the total cost. He also said that Mexico already has infrastructure that could host events at an Olympic Games next decade.

The foreign minister said that Mexico will undertake the studies requested by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) while taking into account “the changes that have taken place in the Olympic Games financing.”

“… Cities shouldn’t adapt to the Olympic Games, the Olympic Games have to adjust to the [host] cities,” he said. “We would have 15 years, enough time to organize [the event]. If Mexico proposes something, it is to achieve it.”

Other countries where officials have expressed some interest in hosting the 2036 Games include the United Kingdom, South Korea, Egypt and Germany. The IOC is expected to decide on the host city sometime in the second half of this decade.

An Olympic Games here would be just the third in Latin America after Mexico City 1968 and Rio 2016. Mexico City’s hosting of the international event 54 years ago was marred by the Tlatelolco massacre in which hundreds of protesting students were killed by the army just 10 days before the opening ceremony.

With reports from El Financiero, Proceso and Reuters 

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