[UPDATE-1] The German Olympic Confederation (DSOB) officially selected Hamburg over Berlin as their bid city for the 2024 Olympic Games on Monday, following an unanimous decision by its board.
The Confederation made their announcement after the two cities presented their bid plans over the weekend. Unconfirmed reports said the northern port city beat the capital four votes to three, with three abstentions.
“We are united in our longing for the Olympics,” said DOSB president Alfons Hörmann to the organisation’s membership. “We can and want to be a role model for a new Olympic and Paralympic concept of the future.”
Hamburg’s concept involves a potential Games being held in the Kleiner Gradbrook area, a short walk from the city centre to ensure short travel times to competition venues. The nearby city of Kiel would host the sailing events.
The proposed bid is expected to be confirmed on March 21 at the DSOB’s general meeting but is still yet to get past a referendum in September. Munich’s bid for the 2022 Games was withdrawn after it failed to win enough support in a similar vote two years ago.
The DSOB said that a recent poll which showed the Hamburg locals more in favour of bidding (64 percent) than the citizens of Berlin (55 percent) was one of the main reasons to the city’s selection.
Hamburg-native and Olympic champion Eric Johannesen said in an interview with Euronews that Hamburg’s bid plans would make for an successful Games.
“Hamburg has a very unique and perfect concept for the application for the Olympics,” he said. “The compact and short distances between sport venues is a good role model for the Games.”
“There is a lot of support” he added, although he recognised the September referendum could still derail the proposal.
“Its a difficult step to get over. Now I think we will have to go over this. We need more than 64 percent (in favour), more like 70 percent.”
Boston and Rome have already announced their intention to bid, while cities from France, Hungary, Azerbaijan and South Africa are also expected to join the race for the 2024 Games.
Bids for the 2024 Olympics must be submitted to the International Olympic Committee by September 15, with the host city decided at a congress in 2017.