Published: Thu, February 23, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

Hungary to Withdraw Olympic Bid

Budapest's mayor was due Wednesday to hold talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to discuss ending the city's embattled bid to host the Olympic Games in 2024 amid waning public support.

The IOC will announce its decision at the International Olympic Committee session in Lima, Peru, this September. While the IOC will have one fewer candidate to consider when making its selection, the shrinking field highlights a bigger problem facing the Olympic governing body: The huge price tag of hosting a Summer or Winter Games has spawned civic disinterest and led several cities to drop recent bids or decide against entering the race at all.

Rome pulled out of the bidding for the Games in October. European cities have hosted two Summer and two Winter Olympics since the last US -based Games, Salt Lake 2002, and International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has consistently encouraged a USA bid after the country stayed out of the running for the 2020 Summer Games.

"The government, the leadership of the capital, the presidency of Fidesz and the Fidesz parliamentary group proposes the withdrawal of the candidacy to both the Hungarian Olympic Committee and to the City Hall", Lajos Kosa, leader of the Fidesz parliamentary group told MTI. "There is no point dragging out this process like strudel dough".

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There were reports that Hungary could scarp its Olympic bid when a petition for a referendum on the campaign reached a quarter of a million signatures.

The United States' Olympic Committee and the Olympic organizers in Los Angeles were not immediately available to comment on the Hungarian decision.

Their Momentum movement has burst on to Hungary's political scene to challenge Orban's government and opposition parties a year before elections in 2018.

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