Here’s the Real Inside Story of How Paris Won the 2024 Olympics

Julien Mattia/NurPhoto via ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present possibly the most ridiculous story ever written. This weekend the New York Times explained how Paris won the 2024 Olympics after repeated failures in recent years:

Paris Won the 2024 Olympics by Learning From Its Mistakes

Although the Olympic bidding process is notoriously opaque, Paris’s successful bid for the 2024 Olympics seems to have benefited from the hard-learned lessons of its past failures. Here are some of the things it did differently this time.

….“The main conclusion was that you had to put sports much more at the center of the bid”…. Emmanuel Macron, used his image as a young, new and popular president to push the bid into the homestretch…. “It’s important to show some unity to the I.O.C. members,” said Thierry Rey…. Bid leaders argued that their Games would be ecologically responsible, and that 95 percent of the sports venues were either already built or would be temporary…. And there was one more lesson learned by the French, according to Mr. Lee of Vero, and this one was perhaps the hardest. You must lobby, which he described as “the L word in France.”

Oh please. Hamburg, Budapest, and Rome withdrew after realizing that bidding for the Olympics was stupid and immensely costly. Los Angeles voluntarily agreed to host the 2028 games. Paris was the only city left bidding for the 2024 games. That’s why they won.

How is it possible to write more than a thousand words on this subject without mentioning that tiny little fact?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest