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Olympic Bid Chief In Rio: Budapest Has Strong Chance To Beat Mega-Cities As Host Of 2024 Summer Games

By Ferenc Sullivan // 2016.08.18.

Hungary stands a strong chance of winning the right to organise Summer Olympic Games in 2024, the chairman of Budapest’s Olympic bid claimed at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.

According to an Associated Press report, republished by both The Washington Post and the Daily Mail, Mr. Fürjes argued at the event that the Hungarian capital, which is competing with the larger cities of Los Angeles, Rome and Paris, is an “equal participant and has all the chances just like the others to finish No. 1.”

20160817furjes-balazs-olimpia-budapest-2024Mr. Fürjes is the man responsible for the Hungarian capital’s 2024 Olympic bid on behalf of the government (photo: Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI)

Mr. Fürjes said Budapest would offer a “low-risk” Olympics and “refreshing model for compact and intimate games.”

Budapest, he said, would be the right choice in 2024 after a run of four “mega-cities” in a row — Beijing, London, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. IOC President Thomas Bach’s “Olympic Agenda 2020” reforms open the chance for “midsize global cities” to host the games, he claimed. The Budapest leaders claimed the average travel time between venues would be “no more than 13 minutes,” with most sports sites located within a 10-kilometer radius of the city center. Only five new additional venues would need to be built at a total cost of $350 million, according to the Hungarian capital’s application.

The report points out that Hungary is also referring to the country’s  long Olympic tradition in its quest to win the right to host the 2024 Games, noting that it is the only country in the top 10 of the all-time medals list that has yet to host the event.

Mr. Fürjes also rebuffed a journalist’s suggestion that the Hungarian government’s hard-line migration policies may not fit in with the Olympic bid and with the participation of a 10-member IOC refugee team in Rio under the Olympic flag.

“The refugee crisis is one of the largest global challenges of today,” he said. “This is truly a global challenge and only a global solution can work. … What sports can do is bring people together. I’m proud to be a member of the Olympic movement welcoming the refugee team here in Rio and giving us the experience how sport can change lives for the better,” he was reported as saying.

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cover photo: Felipe Dana/AP