How the next president will oversee Olympics and World Cup in US

The FIFA Men’s World Cup trophy is held by Lionel Messi (ARG) after the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final in Qatar, the seal of the President of the United States, and the Olympic cauldron is lit at the Opening Ceremony of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA/ AP/Manu Fernandez/Patrick Semansky/Elise Amendola

How the next president will oversee Olympics and World Cup in US

Jack Birle

January 01, 04:00 AM January 01, 04:00 AM

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As with every presidential election, the coming 2024 contest will have high stakes. One of the unique stakes will be the president’s role in major sporting events to be held in the United States.

For the first time since Bill Clinton, a U.S. president will oversee a World Cup and an Olympics hosted domestically during the four-year term beginning in 2025.


The 2026 World Cup is the first of the two major sporting events that will happen in the U.S., with the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles coming two years later.

In 2026, World Cup matches will be played across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, with a majority of the games played stateside. The president will likely attend at least one match, as Clinton did during the 1994 World Cup in the U.S.

The advantage the World Cup will have over the Olympics is that games will be played across the country, from Los Angeles to New York to Miami, allowing the president to choose a strategically helpful city electorally if he or she will be running for reelection. Philadelphia, Miami, and Atlanta, all located in swing states, will be hosting matches for the World Cup.

The president, as the head of state, will have a grander role in the 2028 Olympics. They will be the one to declare open the games.

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If the president decides to attend and proclaim open the games, they will become the fourth U.S. president to do so. Ronald Reagan was the first U.S. president to open an Olympic Games in 1984 in Los Angeles; the other two to do so were Clinton for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and George W. Bush for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

If the president opts out of opening the games, the task will go to the vice president for the first time since the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Then-Vice President Walter Mondale opened those games after President Jimmy Carter declined.

With an Olympics comes the gathering of the world and several world leaders, which could afford the president a chance to meet with those heads of state.

Bush met with Chinese leaders at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, then-Vice President Joe Biden met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during the 2010 Olympics, and then-Vice President Mike Pence used the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to meet with leaders from Japan and South Korea.

The president will also likely hold a reception for the athletes of Team USA before and/or after the Olympics conclude.

Salt Lake City, which hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, is currently in the running to host the 2030 Winter Olympics. That means if the president wins reelection during the 2028 Olympics, he or she could become the first U.S. president to open a summer and winter Olympics.

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