The deal between Los Angeles leaders and the International Olympic Committee brings the Summer Olympics back to the United States for the first time since 2002.
The agreement is no great surprise. Competition for the 2024 Olympics had narrowed to L.A. and Paris. Instead of having to choose between two robust bids, the Committee took the unusual decision to award two games at once.
Paris was adamant that it needed to host the 2024 games. The French capital said that public subsidies would not be available for the later timescale. Which leaves Los Angeles with 2028.
“We know we will return the Olympic legacy to what it’s all about,” says L.A. mayor, Eric Garcetti. “We’re a city that has always been a Games-changer, and again will be in 2028.”
The L.A. bid is not dependent on public financing. However both city and state have agreed to offer a financial backstop in case costs overrun. Bid leaders have predicted that the games will create money which would be made available for youth sports, as happened after the 1984 Olympics.
The L.A. bid does not require major new constructions. Initial plans to build an Olympic village along the L.A. River were scrapped – instead athletes will be housed at UCLA dorms. The sporting events will make use of the existing stadiums and facilities in and around the city. However Los Angeles officials have said they will expand the city’s subway system prior to the Games.
L.A. became the official U.S. bid for 2024 after Boston withdrew. The east coast city faced stiff community opposition. Five cities originally competed for the games. Rome, Hamburg and Budapest all dropped out. Finding host cities for the Games is becoming difficult as the financial costs are too high for many places.