A new Olympics reality: Fewer cities want to host the Games – Chicago Tribune

As the International Olympic Committee embarks this week on tours of the two cities competing to host the 2024 Olympics, there’s growing sentiment that a consolation prize will be looming. To the victor: The 2024 Summer Games. And to the runner-up: Wait four years and host the 2028 Olympics.

While the arrangement could be viewed as a testament to the strength of the bids put forth by Los Angeles and Paris, it also reveals a stark reality about hosting an Olympics in the 21st century: Costs are exorbitant, economic benefits dubious and fewer and fewer cities bother even throwing their hats in the ring.

Chris Dempsey knows this better than most. He helped create a blueprint of sorts that in relatively short order has invited scrutiny of the process, helping galvanize skeptical populations, prompting cities across the world to pull out of consideration and forcing the IOC to acknowledge and consider flaws. Thomas Bach, the IOC president, recently said the organization “cannot ignore that we have an issue with the candidature process.”

Just 3 1/2 years ago, Dempsey was debating with buddies whether Boston should pursue the 2024 Games and whether it would actually benefit the city. The Olympics’ recent track record isn’t great: cost overruns, empty stadiums left behind, corruption scandals.

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