POSTED: August 9th 2016
SpeakingUp

Eric Garcetti: Los Angeles has been preparing to host the Olympic Games since 1984

The Los Angeles 2024 team at Rio 2016 © Getty Images
The Los Angeles 2024 team at Rio 2016 © Getty Images

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is playing a leading role in the bid © Getty Images
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is playing a leading role in the bid © Getty Images

JOHN GOODBODY in RIO DE JANEIRO / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Los Angeles today set out its stall to the world's media in its bid for the 2024 Olympics, emphasising the city's status as being the home to so much technological innovation as well as its wish to re-engage the youth of the world.

Attempting to stage the Games for the third time, following 1932 and 1984, Mayor Eric Garcetti said that the city had been preparing for the Olympics "since the torch was extinguished" 32 years ago and that Los Angeles was "one of the world's great sport's towns."

However, Los Angeles has started late in the race against its European rivals, Budapest, Paris and Rome because Boston was originally chosen as the proposed candidate city for the United States, only to withdraw after the residents expressed their worries about the cost of the Games.

However, as Garcetti pointed out: "An independent poll showed that we have 88 percent support among the local population. And we only have sunshine 84 per cent of the time."

However, the delay in getting started has mattered less for Los Angeles because it has almost all the facilities, part from temporary ones, already constructed as well as a Village, which will be the campus of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), which has accommodation for 15,000 students, who will be on vacation at the time of the Games. This should be enough for the competitors and officials.

UCLA was used for the 1984 Games, which transformed the thinking about the Olympics, making a profit of $93 million, whereas previous celebrations had either made a huge loss or had been by heavily subsidised by the state. Still it is true that the 1984 Games achieved this by drastically reducing expenditure on any frills and pulling in sponsors to pay for the cost of venues.

LA2024 believes it has learnt from the 1984 experience. Both Janet Evans, the four times Olympic swimming champion, and Angela Ruggiero, the quadruple Olympic ice-hockey gold medallist and now a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), emphasised that they wanted the 2024 Games to be the "best-ever experience for the athletes".

Larry Probst, the Chairman of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), pointed to the fact that this was the 20th time that an American city had bid to stage the Games Apart from Los Angeles, twice, St. Louis in 2004 and Atlanta in 1996, have also hosted the Summer Games and this time he wanted to see "100 million young Americans and hundreds of millions of young people around the world engage with the Olympics."

The bid representatives skirted round the reaction of IOC members to the possibility that Donald Trump would be President of the United States, when they vote on the venue for the 2024 Games in Lima, Peru, on September 13, 2017.

Garcetti had previously been quoted by the Associated Press as saying:"I think for some of the IOC members they would say 'Wait a second could we go to a country like that, where we have heard things we take offence to?' "However, yesterday, when questioned on this attitude, he insisted: "The bid does not depend on the "(presidential) election."

Most of the facilities are centred on four areas in Los Angeles:  the coastal cluster, with the UCLA precinct and Santa Monica; the South Bay cluster; the San Fernando Valley Cluster; and the 'downtown' cluster, including the LA Memorial Coliseum, which once again will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies.

Los Angeles is perceived as the joint favourite with Paris for 2024 but there will be many twists and turns in the polling over the next 13 months with, no doubt, some unexpected developments before the vote is taken.

** JOHN GOODBODY will cover the 2016 Olympics for The Sunday Times, his 13th successive Summer Games and is the author of the audio book A History of the Olympics, read by Barry Davies, the BBC commentator. He was Sports News Correspondent of The Times 1986-2007, for whom he received journalistic awards in all three decades on the paper, including Sports Reporter of The Year in 2001.


Keywords · Olympics · LA 2024


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