The debate between the use of the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – a venue used at the two prior LA Olympic Games – and the new ultra-modern NFL stadium in Inglewood has apparently been left at a standoff resulting in a novel two-stadium citywide Opening Ceremony concept.
The “groundbreaking” concept will appease the Los Angeles City Council who were eager to keep the ceremonies in the heart of the city as well as the traditionalists who cherish the link to past Games, and the bid committee who will now be able to leverage the new, enclosed, state-of-the-art venue to produce a better show and attract International Olympic Committee (IOC) voters who are due to elect the winning bid city in September.
“Using two iconic Los Angeles venues,” a bid statement said,”LA 2024 will create a citywide cultural spectacle combining timeless Olympic traditions and cutting edge entertainment, fitting its ambition to create a New Games for a New Era.”
“One venue represents LA’s fascination with ‘what’s next,’ the other represents the city’s unrivaled Olympic legacy. Together, the stadiums will allow the broadest possible public participation and use LA’s creative talent and technology to unite the world and strengthen the Olympic Movement’s connection to the next generation.”
The plan for July 19, 2024 – the proposed Opening Ceremony date for an LA 2024 Games “will begin with a torch relay down the peristyle of the LA Memorial Coliseum, which will be filled with 70,000 spectators for a Hollywood-produced program of live entertainment, top musical performances and a live viewing and virtual-reality experience of all Ceremony events at the LA Stadium at Hollywood Park. The Torch Relay will proceed past iconic landmarks on the streets of Los Angeles, connecting the city’s diverse neighborhoods, until it reaches the new LA Stadium at Hollywood Park.”
There will be up to 100,000 spectators at the new LA Stadium where the formal elements of the Opening Ceremony will take place including the Parade of Nations, the Olympic Oaths, the official opening of the Games and the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.
The Closing Ceremony, set to be held three weeks later, will be hosted at the LA Memorial Coliseum with live viewing and entertainment available for spectators at the new LA Stadium.
The possible location of the key ceremonies has been a hotly debated topic after last year the National Football League’s LA Rams announced that a new privately funded stadium would be built that is set to be the most expensive such sport facility in the world. Last week the San Diego Chargers announced their move to LA to become joint-tenants with the Rams.
Ceremonies at the LA Memorial Coliseum has been seen as an iconic and historical link to the past two successful Games held in the city in 1932 and 1984. Athletics events are still planned to be held at the Coliseum, as they were in the past.
LA 2024 CEO Gene Sykes said Monday “Hosting Olympic Ceremonies across two iconic stadiums has never been done. But LA’s wealth of stadiums and technology mean we can think about ‘What’s next?’ instead of just asking what has been done before.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said “LA 2024’s unique dual-stadium Ceremonies concept will enable LA 2024 to honor the shared history of the City of Angels and the Olympic Movement, while simultaneously capitalizing on the world’s most technologically advanced stadium to deliver captivating in-stadium, city-wide and global television events.”
LA 2024 will include the new venue concept in the final set of documents due into the IOC February 3. An IOC Evaluation Commission will get a personal look at the plans when it visits California April 23.
The IOC will choose from among LA, Budapest and Paris when it elects the 2024 host city September 13 in Lima, Peru.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com 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.