Hungarian capital Budapest has become the latest city to signal that it is considering a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, as the number of possible contenders increases with a year to go until the process officially opens.
There have been various indication that the city is planning to bid amid claims that a campaign for 2024 would be a forerunner to a more serious attempt at 2028.
Zsigmond Nagy, director of international relations at the Hungarian Olympic Committee, did not confirm that they would bid but did list several reasons as why they may do so.
“Since May 2010 numerous multi-sport venues, sport fields, swimming pools, football stadiums, indoor and outdoor school sport venues and fields in Hungary have been built and are now being built as well,” he told insidethegames.
“Also, major international events, including continental and world sporting ones, have been hosted and shall be hosted in our country, and for instance, as of today the Junior World Championships in Open Water Swimming has just been opened by FINA in the Lake Balaton.
“Last year Budapest in cooperation with our National Federations hosted World Championships in Fencing and Wrestling as well, and our capital city is preparing for the FINA World Championships in 2021.
“Budapest shall receive a state-of-art stadium and modern multi-sport venues in the heart of the city replacing outdated and run down venues and, in addition, the city of Gyor shall host in 2017 the European Youth Olympic Festival for which brand new facilities are now being built for the joy and prosperity of the local people.
“The Olympic Movement of Hungary enjoys a very strong recognition and solid reputation among the public supporting and endorsing to organise major international sport events in the country.
“The National Olympic Committee has been restructured and has incorporated all divisions of sport such as Olympic, non-Olympic, sport for all, disabled and school sports in order to be ready for the new challenges and be able to fulfil tasks originated from this new position.
“In line with the above and based on our historical desire of 119 years to be able to welcome the Olympic Family in our country and host the Olympic Games in Hungary, the bid for 2024 does not seem to be distant.”
The interest, either implied or officially expressed, from at over 10 cities for the 2024 edition is a major boost for the Olympic Movement following the problems it has experienced with the bid race for the Winter Olympics.
While a United States city – either Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Washington DC – is widely seen as the early favourite, both Berlin and Hamburg have begun a process to be selected as a German candidate, while Paris, Rome and Istanbul are other cities reportedly interested.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is due to name the host city at its Session in 2017.
This rumoured interest from Budapest, which has bid unsuccessfully for five previous editions of the Games, most recently for 1960 version, which awarded to Rome, adds potentially another dimension to the fledgling race.
“The Government of Hungary under the successful leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has declared sport as a strategy sector of Hungary for the benefit and welfare of the citizens of Hungary,” said Nagy.
This follows the approach adopted by many other countries, ranging from Turkmenistan to Qatar, of using sport as a way to raise the profile of their nation, as well as to create a sense of unity among the population.