Hungarian spokesman Zoltan Kovacs confirmed to the Associated Press (via USA Today) on Wednesday that Budapest was withdrawing its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, leaving only Los Angeles and Paris in the running to host the event.
Per that report, "Fidesz, the governing party, said the decision was made to avoid 'a loss of international prestige' for Hungary, saying the bid had a very small chance of success."
According to David Wharton of the Los Angeles Times, Paris and Los Angeles will now have "candidates travel the world to pitch their case directly to International Olympic Committee members. In the coming months, the IOC will send evaluation teams to each city."
Wharton added that Rome, Hamburg and Boston have also removed their bids prior to the final stage of the decision-making process because of "concerns about the costs associated with staging the mega-sporting event."
Most cities would be underdogs next to iconic locales like Los Angeles and Paris. Both cities have hosted the Games twice, though Los Angeles (1932, 1984) has done so far more recently than Paris (1900, 1924). Only London and Athens (three times apiece) have hosted the Olympics more.
There has been speculation that both cities could ultimately win a bid, however, with one city getting the 2024 Games and the other claiming the 2028 Olympics.
"Let us discuss. This is a discussion," International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach told the Associated Press in response to that speculation, per the AP (via Olympic Talk). "It also depends on the timing. This is, you know, why I appreciate also the public discussion. There are many options."
The host city will be chosen by the IOC in Lima, Peru, on Sept. 13.