Budapest 2024 is bid for entire region, says PM Orban
By Simon Evans
BUDAPEST (Reuters) - A successful Budapest bid for the hosting of the 2024 Olympic Games would be a victory for the entire Central and Eastern Europe region, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Tuesday.
Orban and International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach were attending a celebration of the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Hungarian Olympic Committee which was used by the hosts to highlight Budapest's bid.
The Hungarian capital is competing with Paris, Rome and Los Angeles for the Summer Games which will follow Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
"Selecting Budapest would not only be a new city and country for the Olympic Games, but put the region on the map. We want to organize the first Central Eastern Europe Olympics,” Orban said.
The 1980 Olympics in Moscow was the only time the Summer Games were held in Eastern Europe during the communist era and they have not returned to the region since the collapse of the dictatorships in 1989 and 1990.
Orban said Hungary and the region were ready to take on the challenge of hosting the world’s biggest sporting event.
“2024 will be 35 years after we shook off the shackles of oppression and celebrated our freedom,” said Orban.
“Organizing an Olympic Games would be the pinnacle of this historical process. We are not only competing for ourselves, but representing the whole region,” he said. Continued...