Reporting from Staples Center in Los Angeles, U.S.A. – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission (EC) wrapped up the first day of meetings with the Los Angeles 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid committee Wednesday.
“They’re both 1984 boys,” EC Chair Patrick Baumann said of LA 2024 bid Chief Casey Wasserman and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti in rare comments by the IOC in the midst of an evaluation.
Baumann explained that the two key players of the bid enjoyed the LA 1984 Games while growing up in Los Angeles and developed a love and passion for the Games. He said that this is one factor leading to LA’s “excellent proposal.”
In past bid campaigns the IOC EC has held back comments until the conclusion of the visit but on Wednesday Baumann fielded questions in an apparent move for more openness in the process.
The IOC Sports Director Christophe Dubi said of the meetings “we covered a lot of ground.”
He said the EC was using the new process of sending questions to the bid committee in advance, something that worked well.
“It was a very large amount of information.”
Baumann said “It was a productive, relaxed and open discussion with no surprises.”
Wasserman addressed LA’s desire to host in 2024, and not 2028 – an option the IOC has discussed in order to accept the bids from both LA and rival Paris at one time.
“It’s the right thinking at the right time,” he said of the IOC’s strategy.
“Why is LA in 2024 the right city at this important time of the Olympic movement? We have the strongest foundations of any Olympic bid in history.”
“Tomorrow we will show the IOC what we can spend the next seven years doing,” he added, suggesting there was an opportunity to innovate the Game rather than spending years constructing venues.
LA 2024’s plans don’t include new permanent venue construction; recent Games have struggled with cost over runs and delays while trying to prepare major new venues and that has discouraged many cities from bidding for future Games.
“This isn’t about a crisis now but an opportunity later,” Garcetti said.
Baumann refused to comment on the possible dual 2024 / 2028 election, instead saying that it was to be discussed by a panel of four IOC Vice Presidents who are due to report in July.
Two Commission members, Tsunekazu Takeda of Japan and Gunilla Lindberg of Sweden were absent from the meeting and will likely miss the rest of the LA visit as well as the Paris evaluation scheduled for next week.
Baumann said “they have had a very short notice of health issues in the last 48 hours and were not able to take their planes.”
“They are well and being taken care of.
“By the time they recover we will be gone from Paris as well.
“We are well equipped to carry on with our journey [without them].”
At the StubHub Center Wednesday, a venue that would host Field Hockey, Tennis, Modern Pentathlon, Rugby Sevens and Track Cycling, LA 2024 announced the formation of its “Sustainability and Legacy Committee comprising 50 multi-disciplinary thought leaders supporting the bid’s mission to deliver an environmentally, financially, and socially sustainable Games that inspire future bidding cities with a lasting, positive impact on the LA community.”
The park is comprised of existing venues and will accommodate temporary facilities – no permanent works are required – following the bid’s sustainability theme.
Wednesday night, the Mayor will host the Evaluation Commission at the official dinner.
On Thursday the IOC EC will leave the presentation room and travel to the proposed venues, many existing and others that are sites of temporary installations. The visit will wrap up Friday with a final IOC press conference before the team heads to Paris to review the French Capital’s bid.