Hamburg promise 'sustainable, compact' 2024 Olympic games

Hamburg promise 'sustainable, compact' 2024 Olympic games

Hamburg is set to launch its bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games with the city`s mayor promising "a compact, sustainable" games -- without a white elephant in sight.

The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DSOB) announced Monday that Hamburg is their prefered candidate and was chosen ahead of a rival bid by Berlin.

The decision to back Hamburg must still be rubber-stamped at the DSOB`s Extraordinary General Meeting in Frankfurt on Saturday.

There will also be a local referendum, likely to be held in September, to be won in Hamburg before the bid can progress.

A recent poll suggested that 64 percent of Hamburg`s 1.7 million population would welcome the Olympics being held in their city and at least 50 percent would need to vote in favour for the referendum to be successful.

"Anyone who thinks the referendum is a foregone conclusion is guaranteed to be wrong. There is still much work to be done," said DSOB president Alfons Hoermann.

"Things must be clearly and transparently communicated, also in terms of finances.

"How much it will cost has not yet been answered and Hamburg must deal with that now."

An estimated 2.09 billion euros will be needed for building alone and more details of the budget will be given on Saturday in Frankfurt.

But organisers claim support for the bid`s sustainable concept seems to be growing in Germany`s second largest city.

Hamburg`s Mayor Olaf Scholz is promising "a compact, sustainable games that are free from any gigantism and will be an excellent fit in the urban development".

In short, the bid wants to avoid the white-elephant phenomenon which has seen venues from previous Olympics, such as Montreal, Beijing and Athens, left largely unused once the games are over.

"We want to bring the Olympics to the middle of the city," Scholz added.

The plans involve converting an area in the city`s port into an Olympic Park with a stadium for 70,000 spectators adjacent to the Athletes Village which would become a new district after the games.

Cruise liners would be moored in the city`s port to provide extra hotel rooms to boost boost Hamburg`s current tally of just under 16,000 beds.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) requires a minimum of 42,000 -- a hurdle that saw Leipzig fail with its bid in April 2003 to host the 2012 Games.

Five venues would need to built from scratch, including a 15,000-capacity swimming venue, a canoing facility and even a rugby stadium with sevens set to make it`s debut at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

Handball, volleyball and basketball events will be held in nearby stadiums which are already in use, while the sailing events will be held in either nearby Rostock/Warnemuende, Luebeck, Kiel or Cuxhaven.

This is the second time Hamburg has prepared a bid to host the Olympics having lost out in April 2003 when Leipzig was chosen to bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which eventually went to London.

Cities have until September 15 to formally enter the race and so far Boston and Rome have officially declared, although Paris is also expected to announce a bid.

"We have strong opponents, but we will also put in a strong bid while setting a new standard in terms of sustainability and modesty," said Germany`s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

The IOC are due to vote on the host city in 2017 in Lima, Peru. 

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