Toronto is better positioned than any other city considering bidding for the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympic because of the success of the Pan American Games which close here this evening, according to Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) President Marcel Aubut.
Aubut, who yesterday vowed to use the “full power” of his office to push for a bid, was speaking alongside a number of Canadian athletes at a briefing celebrating success of the host country at the Games.
Predictably, though, it was the impending bid which overshadowed proceedings.
Aubut faced a number of questions concerning the bid and whether it is financially viable at a time of economic unease across the Ontario region, particularly given the financial problems which followed Canada’s last Summer Olympics in Montreal 1976.
In response, Aubut highlighted the profit made following the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, as well as the fact Vancouver 2010 broke even despite the impact of the global recession.
He claimed an Olympic bid would “advance and accelerate” city plans to be transformed into a “global” city, while as many as 80 per cent of the venues are already in place following the Pan American Games.
“I think Toronto is in a better situation than any other bidder because of the success of the Pan Am Games and the flexibility of [the International Olympic Committee’s] Agenda 2020 reform process," he said.
“Most of the facilities over the last two weeks would be approved, and that is totally different to before.”
Rio de Janeiro were awarded the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics six years having successfully hosted the Pan American Games in 2007.
Bidding would cost a “maximum” of CAD $50 million (£24 million/$38 million/€34 million), Aubut claimed.
“It will probably be lower than that," he added.
He did not reveal more at this stage on what specific new venues would be required, although it would have to include a larger athletics stadium than the one on the York University.Campus, which held just 12,500 during the Pan American Games.
Toronto’s potential bid has gained remarkable momentum during these Games, with Aubut admitting an attempt for 2024 would not have been possible without the success enjoyed over recent weeks.
It is now subject to approval from Toronto Mayor John Tory and the City Council, although Tory declared a final decision is not expected until after next month’s Parapan American Games here.
It comes just 18 months after any possibility of a Toronto bid appeared to have been ruled out when an Economic Development Committee voted unanimously to defer an attempt.
Both bidding and preparing for the event was seen as far too expensive, with former Mayor Rob Ford predicting it could be "15 years at least" before the city would realistically consider hosting the Olympics.
With no further Council meetings scheduled before the IOC's application deadline of September 15, Aubut was asked today if it was democratic for the Mayor to make a decision without a formal meeting.
"The Mayor doesn’t need any help about doing the right things for the city," he answered.
"I have my confidence in him."
Aubut's comments come on the eve of the United States Olympic Committee's (USOC) announcement on the future of Boston's underfire bid, revealed exclusively by insidethegames yesterday, with Los Angeles considered a possible late replacement.
Aubut did not rise to the bait when asked if Canada had been encouraged to bid by Boston's struggles.
"The best way to win is to focus on your own bid without focusing upon the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents, at least at this stage..." he said.
A final decision on which city will host the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics is due to be made at the IOC Session in Lima in 2017.
Paris, Rome, Hamburg and Budapest have all confirmed bids while Baku is viewed another possible contender following the success last month of the inaugural European Games.
July 2015: Canadian Olympic chief pledges to "advocate and lead" Toronto 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid
July 2015: Decision on possible Toronto 2024 Olympic bid likely to be made after Parapan American Games
July 2015: Nick Butler: Could Toronto be North America’s best hope of hosting the 2024 Olympics?