Postcard from...Rome


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The Independent Online


Like two competitive siblings who have never shed their rivalry, Rome and Milan are now jostling over the 2024 Olympics.

While Tokyo was a shoe-in for 2020, neither Italian city can expect to be firm favourite for the following Games.

That hasn’t stopped premier Enrico Letta publicly discussing an Italian bid for 2024. Rome was thinking of throwing its hat in for 2020 before the economic crisis and Europe’s biggest overdraft forced a rethink.

But with the continent, in the form of Madrid, out of the running in 2020 following the International Olympic Committee’s decision at the weekend, a European city will have a chance the next time around.

“What happened in Buenos Aires makes me think that Italy can bid for the 2024 Olympics,” Letta said.

Rome’s Mayor Ignazio Marino said the capital was ready. “There are the right conditions for Rome to bid to host the Games,” he said.

The response from the north was immediate. Roberto Maroni head of the Lega Nord party, suggested Milan made more sense. Three-time Olympic canoeing gold medallist Antonio Rossi, Italy’s flag-bearer at the 2008 Games in Beijing, agreed.

If the two cities were siblings, Rome would be the good-looking, lazy one with lots of friends; Milan would be the studious one with glasses who did well at school and earned a fortune.

But given that Rome is more beautiful, has better weather and an existing Olympic Stadium, this is one battle that Milan probably can’t win.