Rome mayor promotes existing venues for 2024 Olympic bid

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Rome’s mayor is promoting the use of existing venues in the city’s bid for the 2024 Olympics.

Ignazio Marino took part in a daylong seminar at IOC headquarters Thursday as part of the new invitation phase for potential host cities.

Rome is planning to incorporate many of the facilities that were used for the 1960 Games in the Italian capital, including the Benito Mussolini-inspired Foro Italico complex that contains the Olympic Stadium, plus swimming and tennis venues.

Another area of venues is slated for the half-built Tor Vergata complex on the outskirts of the city. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the Tor Vergata complex was meant to host events for the 2009 swimming world championships — before the entire event was moved to the Foro Italico.

For several years, the Tor Vergata complex has stood in a state of abandonment.

“We will not build cathedrals in the desert,” Marino said. “We are not going to overbuild. We are going to develop what already exists.”

Rome does need to build a velodrome and a rowing venue.

The delegation also included Italian cabinet undersecretary Claudio de Vincenti and Rome bid committee general director Claudia Bugno.

Hamburg, Boston, Paris and Budapest have also announced bids for 2024. The IOC will select the host city in 2017.

In her technical presentation to the IOC, Bugno emphasized a bid funded by the public as well as national and international private investments.

Rome is considering a budget of 6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) — $2 billion of which would be covered by the IOC — or roughly half of what London spent in 2012.

“As with the 1960 Games, which transformed Rome and the Olympic movement, we are looking to launch short and medium term initiatives which will leave a legacy for the city, even in the next two years,” Bugno said.

Three years ago, then-premier Mario Monti scrapped Rome’s plans to bid for the 2020 Games because of financial concerns. The new bid comes with Italy’s economy still stagnant and with new revelations surfacing in a widening corruption scandal in Rome that has been labeled “Mafia Capital.”

Phone conversations intercepted by police and published in the media have described how local criminal bosses managed to cement ties with city politicians over lucrative public contracts.

Dozens have been arrested and Rome’s deputy mayor resigned this week, even though he is not formally under investigation.

“If a state renounces a big event because there is a risk of corruption and criminality, that’s a defeat by itself,” said Italy’s anti-corruption czar Raffaele Cantone earlier this week. Cantone is slated to assume a role in the bid team.


This story corrects detail on when the Foro Italico was built.


AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Rome contributed.

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