POSTED: Friday February 24th 2017

Hungary's dream for 2024 brought hope to cities like Budapest all around the world

Budapest 2024 Leader Talks Publically For First Time Since Olympic Bid Comes to an End

“We are immensely proud to have been part of the 2024 Olympic Bid family,” says Bid Chairman.

Budapest 2024 has announced that formal procedures to close its bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024 have now begun in the Hungarian capital. A vote on the withdrawal of the Olympic Bid will be held by the Budapest city assembly. The Hungarian Olympic Committee will officially notify the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of the results, most likely next week.

Budapest 2024 Bid Chairman, Balázs Fürjes, thanked the IOC, the wider Olympic Movement and sports fans from around the world for supporting the innovative bid to bring the Olympic Games to the Hungarian capital for the first time. He also thanked the Bid Sponsors, the Athletes’ Commission and the bid’s many followers throughout Budapest and Hungary for their messages of support.

“There is no greater honour in world sport than hosting the Olympic Games, and we are immensely proud to have been part of the 2024 bid family,’ said Fürjes. “We chose to bid because we believed, and continue to believe, in the transformative power of sport and the values of the Olympic Movement.

“We have achieved great things collectively through this bidding process; this has been a major national effort on behalf of sport, the city and the nation.

“The Games in 2024 would have accelerated the long-term development plan for the city, thereby greatly improving the lives of the citizens of Budapest and Hungary, with benefits in many areas including public transport, employment, housing and accessibility.  This was a great opportunity for young Hungarians to show to the world their great sporting prowess, creativity, innovation and business acumen. Ours was a bid that also had the potential to reach new audiences in the Central European region, leaving fantastic sport legacy for 150 million people.

“Our model offered a vision for change, especially relevant for those mid-sized cities that dare to bid for the Games.  We believe that we have brought hope to cities like Budapest all around the world, by showing that the Olympic Games can be accessible to everyone, transforming mid-sized cities in ways that simply cannot be achieved in a developed metropolis.

“We thank the IOC for the excellent cooperation that we have enjoyed throughout the process; their commitment to Agenda 2020 made it possible for us to bid, and their engagement with Budapest was constructive and encouraging throughout.

“We take the opportunity too to wish Los Angeles and Paris well for the remainder of the process; we have been proud to stand alongside them in this competition.”

Attila Mizsér, Director of Sport and Venues for Budapest 2024 spoke of the bid’s master plan, which had been undergoing refinements in collaboration with the IOC and International Sport Federations since the Rio Olympic Games.

“We are proud in particular of our groundbreaking master plan,” he said. “It was a different Games model aimed at delivering a sustainable, responsible and technically excellent Olympic and Paralympic Games with some of the fastest travel times in Olympic history.  This laid the foundations for what would have been a truly outstanding event in 2024. We are extremely grateful to the International Sport Federations and National Sport Federations for all their input into and support of the Budapest concept.”

Fürjes said that political unity on the bid had not been restored during government talks this week and that without that vital consensus, the bid could not proceed.

The Budapest Bid had received cross-party support at regular parliamentary and municipality milestones since June 2015. These included the Olympic Act passed in Parliament in April 2016 and the unanimous approval by the City of Budapest to submit the third candidature file to the IOC in January of this year.

Fürjes said: “Unfortunately, the full support we had previously enjoyed fractured earlier this month when mainstream opposition parties u-turned on their backing for the bid in order to join the Momentum campaign. We have always made it clear that cross-party political support was a crucial condition for a viable bid.”

The bid was supported by prominent athletes and advocates in the sport community, including Olympic champion Ágnes Kovács (chair of the Budapest 2024 Athletes’ Commission), Pál Szekeres, (former Olympic bronze medalist fencer and Paralympic gold medalist wheelchair fencer - Hungary’s most successful Paralympian), and Dániel Gyurta (Olympic champion, world champion and member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission).

Olympic fencing champion and world champion Áron Szilágyi spoke about what the bid meant to him. “As a Hungarian, I can truly say that sport is our inspiration, our legacy and our strength. And through the Olympic Movement, sport has helped Hungarians to stand tall in the world.”

Despite a modest population of 10 million, Hungary competed in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, stands eighth in the overall medal table for the Summer Games and is the only top ten nation not yet to have hosted a Games. 

“Our 120-year-old dream of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games remains alive,” said Fürjes. “We continue to believe in the model and we hope to have the chance one day to prove the case.

“Budapest is a sport city on the rise: we still look forward to welcoming the world to a summer celebration of sport, with the FINA World Championships, the Judo World Championships, the Finn Gold Cup and the European Youth Olympic Festival all taking place in Hungary this year. We also look forward to 2019, when Budapest is the European Capital of Sport and will host the European Maccabi Games among an A-list of championship events.” 

- Sportcal’s latest listing recognise Budapest as the rising star of major global sport events, ranking the city seventh among the top global sport cities and second in the Future Sports Cities Index 2017-2023. Named as European Capital of Sport 2019, Budapest is a high-value city, with an excellent transport infrastructure and a long-term sustainable development plan. The Budapest 2024 Olympic Bid proposes a compact and intimate Games footprint in the capital, and a truly nationwide Games that features sport in six other Olympic cities. Budapest 2024 is dedicated to deliver an on-budget and inclusive Olympic and Paralympic Games in one of the top 20 most peaceful countries in the world. Sports-mad Hungary was one of the founding members of the IOC and has participated in the Games since 1896. Hungary is the only country ranked in the top ten of the all-time Olympic Medal table that has not yet hosted the Olympic Games.

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Keywords · Budapest 2024 · Olympics

Name: Ivan Rozsa
Organization: Budapest 2024

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