January 09, 2016

ROME (AP) Amid rising opposition and calls for a public referendum, Italian Premier Matteo Renzi has reiterated his strong support of Rome's bid for the 2024 Olympics.

Writing in his weekly newsletter, Renzi says, ''It's not going to be easy, because we have tough opponents, starting with Paris. But the idea that Italy can start thinking large again and not give up its dreams anymore - as happened a few years ago with Rome - is a value that I want to defend.''

Rome withdrew its bid for the 2020 Games after the government of then Premier Mario Monti declined to provide financial backing.

Renzi adds that he will travel to Switzerland this month to promote the 2024 bid at IOC headquarters.

This week, the small, left-wing movement Radicali Italiani called for a referendum on the candidacy.

Los Angeles and Budapest, Hungary, are also bidding for the 2024 Games.

The IOC will select the host city in 2017.

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