Los Angeles Leads America's Olympic Hopes

Los Angeles Leads America's Olympic Hopes
Renee Silverman/L.A. Weekly Flickr pool

That was almost as fast as Usain Bolt in the 100-meter.

A day after the Mayor's Office confirmed that it was in talks with the U.S. Olympic Committee for reconsideration of its bid to host the 2024 Summer Games, Los Angeles is America's de facto choice to pursue the event, USOC officials said.

"We think L.A. gives us our best chance," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun told reporters yesterday.

Los Angeles was one of four finalists to be America's choice to host the 2024 Games before Boston was chosen. But last month that city, bowing to pressure from residents concerned over taxpayer costs, pulled its application.

USOC officials said they quickly took a look at the three other finalists, including San Francisco and Washington, D.C., and fairly promptly decided that L.A.. represents America's best shot at competing with international cities to host the 2024 Summer Games.

USOC Chairman Larry Probst:

The [USOC] board authorized Scott Blackmun to work with Los Angeles to further explore the viability of a bid to the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We hope to finalize terms that benefit both the city of Los Angeles and the Olympic movement in the United States so that we can submit a world-class bid to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) by their Sept. 15 deadline.

L.A. has a few things going for it: The city has venues suitable for Olympic events; not too many expensive new ones would have to be built. The city has proven that it can host profitable Olympics, with the 1984 Olympics believed to be the most profitable yet. And Angelenos support hosting the Games.

USOC officials said polling earlier this month found that 81 percent of Angelenos are in favor of bringing the Summer Games to town. That's important given the fatal backlash experienced in Boston. It's clear the USOC doesn't want to have to go back to the drawing board again.

"Los Angeles has hosted a couple of times," Blackmun said. "They've demonstrated their passion for the Olympic Games."

American Olympics officials are still in negotiations with City Hall, but they've obtained a commitment from Mayor Eric Garcetti that we'd be able to host the more than $4 billion Games without sending a bill to the USOC.

In other words, L.A. must guarantee the costs. But Garcetti's office says hosting can happen without putting taxpayer cash on the line. Here's what Garcetti said in response to the news that L.A. will lead the American bid for the 2024 Games:

Over the past week, we have had very positive discussions with the United States Olympic Committee about how Los Angeles can present a strong and fiscally responsible bid on behalf of our city and nation. The L.A. Olympics would inspire the world and are right for our city. The Games would unite our communities, generate significant economic benefits and, with our world-class venues, be affordable and profitable like they were in 1932 and 1984. I look forward to continuing our conversation with the USOC in the weeks ahead.

The International Olympics Committee will make its choice among all the international bidders in 2017. 

USOC officials said they hoped to have the fine print of L.A.'s bid down by the end of this month. Public hearings seeking your input on hosting the Games expected to take place soon, they said.


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