Hamburg sends bid for 2024 Olympics to IOC

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) Hamburg formally submitted its bid for the 2024 Olympics on Wednesday, hoping to bring the games back to Germany for the first time since in 52 years.

City officials and German Olympic leaders signed the bid application and sent it to the International Olympic Committee.

''We invite the international sports family to get to know our clearly colorful and increasingly diverse country,'' Alfons Hoermann, the president of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), said.

Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz said the city can handle both the Olympics and the influx of refugees to the region. He added that the arrival of thousands of migrants in Germany is a sign of the country's welcoming reputation.

''Right now, as we see how many people are coming to Germany, the Olympic Games are a sign pointing in the same direction,'' Scholz said. ''I hope the enthusiasm connected with the games brings us all forward.''

The mayor said the port city sees itself as a ''gateway to the world'' and aims to show that ''transparent, compact, modern Olympic Games are possible in our city.''

Hamburg's application - addressed to IOC President Thomas Bach with the words ''IOC, you've got mail!'' - was posted after a relay that included residents and past and present athletes.

The bid still faces a referendum among Hamburg residents on Nov. 29.

Hamburg is bidding to take the Olympics to Germany for the first time since Munich hosted the 1972 Summer Games. Munich failed in a bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics and dropped a planned bid for the 2022 Winter Games after it was rejected in a referendum.

Hoermann said the '72 Munich Games showed how the Olympics can serve ''the long-term benefits of the host city's citizens.'' He said Hamburg would have 90 percent of venues within 10 kilometers (6 miles) of the Olympic village.

Paris, Rome, Los Angeles and Budapest, Hungary, are other declared bidders for the 2024 Olympics.

The IOC deadline for formal submission of bid entries is Tuesday. The IOC will select the host city in September 2017.

Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games Executive Director, told The Associated Press he hoped to hold talks this week with two other potential bidders: Toronto, Canada, and Baku, Azerbaijan.

''Those two are still considering and we need confirmation,'' he said.

He said the five committed bidders were all set to submit their paperwork for the deadline.

''Unless there is any event between now and Monday, we should get their letters on Tuesday,'' he said.

Germany is a leading contender to host soccer's European Championship in 2024.

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