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LA mayor says 2024 Olympics would prevent US from turning inward

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - A return of the Olympics to Los Angeles in 2024 could help prevent the United States from turning inwards, the city‘s mayor said Tuesday, as the country is consumed by a fierce presidential campaign.

"An America that turns inward, like any country that turns inward, isn‘t good for world peace, isn‘t good for progress, isn‘t good for all of us," Eric Garcetti told journalists in Rio, where he is lobbying for his city to have a third chance at hosting the Games.

"It can change the soul of our city again and our country, at a time when we need America to be engaged with the world and not turning into itself. We think the Olympics is the perfect way to do that," he added.

Garcetti was quoted by the Associated Press news agency last week as saying that a victory by US presidential contender Donald Trump could hurt Los Angeles‘ Olympic chances. But the mayor backed down from those comments Tuesday.

"I was asked the question and I talked about what I had heard from IOC members," Garcetti said, referring to the International Olympic Committee. "I was really just relating what they said, not necessarily personal opinion.

"I would say this bid does not depend on any election, this bid is about a city that is connected to the Olympics and the way that sports transforms and transcends politics."

The IOC is due to name the 2024 host city in September of next year. Los Angeles is competing with Paris, Rome and Budapest to stage the world‘s biggest sporting event. The 2020 edition will be in Tokyo.

Los Angeles hosted the Olympics in 1932 and 1984. The 2024 bid marks the 20th time that the US has offered to host the Games, said Larry Probst, the chairman of the country‘s Olympic Committee.

Los Angeles is touting its already existing sports infrastructure and an athlete-focused approach in its bid, as well as California‘s creativity, innovation track record and good weather.

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