October 28, 2014

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Germany will bid to stage the 2024 Summer Olympics, with Berlin and Hamburg vying for the candidacy.

The German Olympic Committee's board approved unanimously on Tuesday to present a bid and will now hear proposals from both cities before selecting the representative in March next year.

''We are confident that it will be a big opportunity for one of the cities and a big opportunity for the entire sport,'' national Olympic Committee chairman Alfons Hoermann told reporters.

''We are also confident that an Olympic project can be - and will be - good for our country,'' Hoermann said.

If the bid for the 2024 Olympics in unsuccessful, Germany will then likely bid for the 2028 games.

Berlin is the German capital and Germany's biggest city, while Hamburg is the large port city in the north on the Elbe River.

''We have two excellent candidates in Berlin and Hamburg,'' Hoermann said. The final candidate will be picked on March 21.

There have been no other official candidates for the 2024 Olympics until now, although the United States is among the countries expected to lodge a bid. The host will be chosen by the International Olympic Committee in 2017. Istanbul, Rome, Paris and Doha, Qatar, have been mentioned as possible bidders.

Germany last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1972 in Munich, overshadowed by a deadly attack on Israeli athletes by Palestinian gunmen.

Berlin hosted the 1936 Summer Games, misused by Adolf Hitler as a propaganda tool for his Nazi regime. Garmisch-Partenkirchen hosted the Winter Olympics in the same year.

There have been several unsuccessful bids from Germany. Berlin failed to land the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and Leipzig was defeated for the 2012 Games in London. Garmisch-Partenkirchen lost the bid for the 1960 Winter Games in Squaw Valley, California while Berchtesgaden missed out on the 1992 Winter Games which was awarded to Albertville, France.

Munich's planned bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics was rejected in a local referendum which was seen as a slap in the face of IOC -which is regarded as corrupt and nontransparent by many Germans. The IOC is expected to pass a set of broad ranging reforms in December that have been promoted by its German president, Thomas Bach.

Still, the final German bid runs the risk of being rejected by the residents. Both Berlin and Hamburg plan referendums, once it is known which of the two will be the candidate.

The German Olympic Committee says that according to its own polls, a narrow majority was against the Games in Berlin, while the project had the support of 53 percent of the Hamburg population.

''We have to promote the product and convince the citizens,'' Hoermann added.

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