Olympic chief: London could host Games in next 20 years

LONDON could host the Olympic Games again within the next 20 years, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said yesterday.

The capital won widespread praise for its staging of the sporting extravaganza earlier this year, with many observers calling it the best Games of all time.

London has already hosted the modern summer Olympics three times, more than any other city, however, while the greatest deterrent might be the enormous cost involved.

“Whether there is a will to do that is another matter, but definitely, that would be possible. The IOC welcome good bids irrespective of the place they originate from,” said Jacques Rogge.

“There will always be a competition between various candidate cities. This is a contest and definitely it remains to be seen whether London would show an interest to bid again, and if that is the case London will have to face other cities. I would welcome good bids emanating from as many countries as possible and this includes the United Kingdom.”

Rogge led the tributes to London at the closing ceremony in August, calling the 30th modern Olympiad “happy and glorious”.

Lord Coe, the chairman of the London 2012 organising committee, called it “a wonderful Games in a wonderful city”, adding: “For the third time in its history, London was granted the trust of the Olympic movement, and once again we have shown ourselves worthy of that trust.”

The Games cost £11.3bn to stage, of which £9.3bn was funded by the public sector. Almost £3bn went on venues and construction – at least some of which could be saved in the event of staging the Games again soon, as the facilities are largely already in place and up to date.

However, the mushrooming costs were a source of huge controversy during the lead-up to London 2012 and such a project would appear to be an even harder sell in a tougher economic climate.

Sprint king Usain Bolt’s so-called double treble – retaining his 100m, 200m and 4x100m gold medals – was among a host of highlights of a spectacular 16 days.

American swimmer Michael Phelps won an Olympic record 19th gold medal in his final Games, while Kenyan David Rudisha scorched a new 800m world record and Britain’s Ben Ainslie confirmed himself as the greatest Olympic sailor of all time with a fourth successive gold.

The Paralympic Games which followed last month was equally successful, with all 2.5m tickets sold and record television audiences achieved. A peak audience of 11m watched the opening ceremony on Channel 4.

Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is preparing to host the next Olympics in 2016, while Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid have been selected as the three shortlisted cities for the 2020 Games.

Paris, Berlin, St Petersburg, Kiev and Baku are among the European cities thought to be interested in staging the Games in 2024.