POSTED: December 16th 2015

Olympics: Security obviously a high priority for Los Angeles 2024 bid

Los Angeles will announce security plans in the next few weeks / Bigstock
Los Angeles will announce security plans in the next few weeks / Bigstock

LAURA WALDEN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Los Angeles bid leaders confirmed today that Games security is one of their highest priorities should they win the IOC nod to host the Summer Games.

Local schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District were also closed today due to emailed bomb threats with authorities taking no chances until they had verified safety for the students and faculty.  

Less than two weeks after a brutal terrorist attack in San Bernardino that left 14 killed and 22 wounded, security is on everyone's minds.  

Rival bid city Paris was also the victim of a number of incidents this year namely last month's horrific shootings taking 130 people and the attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo killing 12 staff.

LA 2024 bid officials were in New York today briefing the U.S. Olympic Committee's (USOC) executive board on updates and took a conference call from reporters afterwards. The first question was based on security and what were Los Angeles' plans to keep the Games safe should they win the vote.

Gene Sykes, CEO of LA 2024, said, "It's something we've given a lot of thought to.

"We've actually worked closely to get help from city and state and county officials who deal with security and we actually will take some steps that we'll be ready to announce in the next several weeks that will reflect the kinds of things that we expect to do. It's obviously a very high priority for us."

"Everything that happens in the world affects how we think about how we have to plan for this so I think it something that we will be ready for and give a great deal of thought to," he added.

It isn't the first time that the USA has had to consider extreme precautions, the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001 took place just months before the Salt Lake City 2002 winter Olympics and the United States had to assure the world that the Games would be safe. The responsibility is enormous.

Scott Blackmun, USOC CEO, explained, "All of the past Olympic Games held in the US and the Super Bowls are national special security events and I suspect that if we were to host the Games in 2024 that it would be as well which means you have kind of got a federal lead on that. So obviously the discussions that we have with the federal government going forward are going to be very important and you cannot skimp on security."

LA 2024 Bid Chairman Casey Wasserman noted that so far American security hadn't been a big worry abroad with the key voters, the decision makers, "In my connections with the members since the process started, honestly I think security is a concern for everyone in all markets, but it hasn't been a specific concern that any members have raised to me about Los Angeles."

Any city can be vulnerable and attacks can happen anywhere anytime. It is also one of the most expensive and difficult components to hosting the Olympic Games.

Los Angeles is bidding against Paris, Rome and Budapest to host the Summer Games in 2024 and the IOC will choose their winner in Lima, Peru in 2017.

**LAURA WALDEN has over twenty-five years of experience in the Olympic Movement, formerly at the European Olympic Committees with SportEurope under former IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge and IOC Member Mario Pescante. She worked with the Rome 2004 and Turin 2006 Olympic bids and also managed PR & media for Dr. Jacques Rogge during his campaign for the presidency.

Keywords · Olympics · Los Angeles

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