Hamburg says no to the Olympics

Photo: Claire Griffiths/Flickr

Photo: Claire Griffiths/Flickr


By Søren Bang
Hamburg drops its planned bid for the 2024 Olympics after a majority of its citizens voted no in a public referendum.

Hamburg has pulled out of the race for the 2024 Olympics after a majority of 52 percent said no in a public referendum held in the German city Sunday.

Hamburg's mayor Olaf Scholz afterwards expressed his disappointment with the result: "That's a decision that we didn't want, but it's clear," he said while other supporters called it as missed opportunity for German sport and for the city of Hamburg.

The rejection came despite a clear majority in the local parliament as well as local business interests stood behind the bid that aimed at getting the Olympics back to Germany for the first time since the Munich games in 1972. In this process, Hamburg was picked ahead of Berlin by the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) that saw the Hanseatic city as a safer option than Berlin.

However, the campaign with the slogan ‘Feuer und Flamme für Spiele in Hamburg’ (Fired up for the Games in Hamburg) turned out to be more of a damp squib with a growing number of local citizens questioning the sustainability of the games.

But the rejection was based on more than fears for tax bills or terror, the local newspaper Die Zeit argued in a comment piece:

“The main reason was the distrust among the citizens when it comes to sport. A well-deserved mistrust, one has to say,” sports-writer Oliver Fritsch wrote naming the many recent scandals in international sport and calling for fundamental reforms in sport.

In any case, Hamburg’s rejection stresses the difficulties in raising public support for the hosting of the Summer or Winter Olympics in a number Western countries. Lack of political or public support has caused cities and regions like Oslo, Stockholm, Graubünden, Krakow, Vienna, Boston and Munich to drop bids in recent years.

With Hamburg out of the race, Los Angeles, Rome, Paris and Budapest are the cities left running for the Summer Olympics in 2024.

The decision of which city will host the games, will be made by the IOC at its 2017 session in Lima, Peru.

More about the Hamburg 2024 bid


Read Dennis Pauschinger’s article on Hamburg 2024:


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