Tuesday, April 23, 2024

L.A. bids for 2024 Olympics

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Glamour, celebrities, perfect weather; a revitalised and growing downtown; iconic venues and political support. Los Angeles looks like an ideal fit to host the 2024 Olympics.

And then, there is history.

Whether the city’s long past with the Olympics will help or hurt is an issue the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) must reconcile when it decides whether to give Los Angeles a shot at hosting its third Summer Games.

The 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles are widely credited with saving the games – turning a profit after a series of tragic, money-losing and morale-sapping Olympics in Munich, Montreal and Moscow.

But the International Olympic Committee had been to London three times and will stage its second Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. Will it want another repeat four years later, or seek something new, the way it did for the 2016 Olympics, which were awarded to Rio de Janeiro?

Los Angeles has made some inroads since it tried, and failed, to become America’s candidate for 2016. (Chicago won, then got eliminated first in the international voting.)

It will host the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in February 2016, and next year it will stage the Special Olympics World Summer Games, which include 7 000 intellectually challenged athletes competing in 25 sports.

From Mayor Eric Garcetti on down, there is widespread political support for hosting another Olympics. This time, the mayor’s office is overseeing a possible bid while maintaining a low profile, honouring the USOC’s attempt to keep the vetting process hush-hush.

Casey Wasserman, the 40-year-old grandson of the late studio chief Lew Wasserman and owner of a sports and media company, is quietly working with Garcetti on the bid.

“Los Angeles is the ideal Olympic city, with endless diversity, attractions and scenic beauty,” Garcetti said in a statement.

“Casey Wasserman and I have enjoyed working with USOC chairman Larry Probst, CEO Scott Blackmun and their talented and experienced team to explore how we can present the strongest possible bid for our nation.”

Politics is another sport in the Olympic world, and Los Angeles has an edge there, too. IOC members Anita DeFrantz, the senior American in the IOC ranks, and Jim Easton live there. More former Olympians live in the region than anywhere else, too.

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