LA 2024 Is “An Opportunity, Not An Ultimatum” Bid Chair Says

LA 2024 bid Chair Casey Wasserman said Friday that his city’s bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024 is about looking into the future and not the past.  In a self-published opinion piece on Medium he said “this bid campaign isn’t about whether a city is capable of hosting the Games — it’s about which city is best suited to serve the future of the Olympic Movement.”

LA 2024 Bid Chief Casey Wasserman at Rio 2016 (GamesBids Photo)

LA 2024 Bid Chief Casey Wasserman at Rio 2016 (GamesBids Photo)

“That city is LA; and by the way,” Wasserman wrote, “LA 2024 is not an ultimatum, LA 2024 is an opportunity.”

“But as in life, opportunities only exist for brief windows of time.”

His comments were in reference to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) proposed plan to elect both the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games from applicants LA and Paris at the all-members session later this year in Lima, Peru.  The plan will help ensure that the Olympic movement locks in two competent host cities for the next decade while other candidates are dropping out of the race due to public opposition and fears of cost over runs and corruption.

Both LA and Paris say they are laser-focused on plans for 2024 only, neither hinting to the IOC that 2028 could be an option that would risk weakening their chances at winning the earlier edition.

But co-Chair of Paris’ bid for the Games Tony Estanguet said last week that his city could not host in 2028, but only in 2024.

“We will not come back for ’28,” Estanguet said to reporters.

“2024 is now or never for us,” he added.

“We can’t host the Games in 2028 because we don’t have the project available for 2028.”

Estanguet is referring primarily to the Olympic Village concept that requires construction in Seine-Saint-Denis, a venue that is typically the most costly, risky and difficult to plan with a viable legacy.  Contracts and agreements, the bid says, are only valid for the 2024 Games.

LA 2024 bid Chair Casey Wasserman speaks at MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (LA 2024 Photo)

LA 2024 bid Chair Casey Wasserman speaks at MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (LA 2024 Photo)

The narrative seems aimed at pressuring the IOC to give the 2024 nod to Paris and force LA to wait its turn.

Wasserman likes the IOC plan and wrote “The 2024/2028 strategy under consideration by the IOC is precisely the type of new thinking that the Movement needs.”

“But, it only works if the IOC chooses the right 2024 city — the city that brings new ideas and new solutions to the Games — not more of the same.

“So instead of “now or never,” we think the IOC should focus on “new, or more of the same?

“As the IOC’s partner, LA 2024 will focus on the future instead of the past.”

Wasserman further alluded that the IOC might be inclined to choose Paris for 2024 instead of LA only because “LA offers a true example for repeatable Olympic success for future Host Cities,” and would still be suitable for 2028.

He wrote “no city is forever immune from the anti-Olympic voices. LA 2024’s unique offer to the Olympic Movement — overwhelming public support, zero-risk budget, a proven Olympic legacy and unparalleled connectivity with youth around the world isn’t timeless; therefore, it must be activated now to give LA 2024 and the IOC seven years to help stabilize the Olympic world.”

A panel of four IOC Vice Presidents is investigating the possible joint award of the 2024 and 2028 Games, and will report any findings back to the membership at a meeting in Lausanne on July 11.

Wasserman’s pointed comments come just four days before his team is set to present to Olympic stakeholders at the SportAccord Convention being held in Aarhus, Denmark.

The IOC will elect the 2024 host city September 13.

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.