Reporting From SwissTech Convention Center in Lausanne, Switzerland – The message that a Los Angeles Olympics would “illuminate the future” was conveyed by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and the LA 2024 Olympic bid delegation as they presented to most International Olympic Committee (IOC) members in Lausanne Tuesday.
“Just as the Greeks used the sun to light the flame, we want to use the sunlight of our creativity to illuminate the future of your great Games,” Garcetti said in his prepared remarks at the SwissTech Convention Center.
The 45-minute presentation and 30-minute question-and-answer period was held entirely behind closed doors, a decision made by the IOC that is being criticized by those seeking transparency in the embattled organization that has been accused of too much secrecy.
Garcetti said he was not opposed to having the presentation broadcast live, but he was willing to go along with IOC rules.
Bid Chair Casey Wasserman told Olympic stakeholders “This [bid] decision is about the future direction of the Olympic Movement. And as Californians, we see that as an opportunity. Our objective is to best serve your needs, not only ours.”
He continued “We’re offering a city ready to go. We’re offering a Games with no incremental costs. We’re offering a lasting definition of Olympic sustainability. LA 2024 is not about money, or ego, or American pride, or even winning or losing. It is about serving the Olympic Movement far beyond 2024 by partnering with you to create a new Games for a new era.”
The LA 2024 delegation included the three US IOC Members, Anita DeFrantz, Angela Ruggiero and Larry Probst; LA Mayor Eric Garcetti; LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman; LA 2024 CEO Gene Sykes; LA 2024 Vice Chair Janet Evans; LA 2024 Vice Chair Candace Cable; LA 2024 Athletes’ Advisory Commission member Allyson Felix; and LA 2024 Sports Director Doug Arnot.
The technical presentations are intended to guide IOC members, along with the bid books and Evaluation Commission report, as they cast their votes for the winning 2024 city September 13 in Lima, Peru. But later Tuesday, the IOC could adopt a new proposal to award both cities with the Games next decade – one in 2024 and one in 2028.
That would change the race into a negotiation over which city goes first in 2024, and both cities have made it clear that they are competing for 2024.
Garcetti said “we welcome the Executive Board’s decision to recognize two excellent bids from two of the world’s greatest cities.”
“We hope the IOC members will approve the recommendation of a dual award today. We look forward to working together, maybe not in competition, but in collaboration with Paris.
“To be clear, we are competing for 2024.”
Wasserman added “we have never given an ultimatum on 2024,” alluding to Paris’ claim that the French bid is only available for 2024 and it could not consider 2028.
“We don’t believe in ultimatums, we believe in partnerships,” he added.
If the dual-award does not go forward as expected in Lausanne Tuesday, this could be the last attempt by Los Angeles to host the Games.
“It will be very difficult [to bid again for 2028],” Garcetti said of any follow-up bid if it were to lose to Paris.
“It will get increasingly difficult to turn around and to tell private citizens who helped fund this bid ‘oh let’s do it again’.”
Garcetti included in his remarks on a personal note explaining “This is an emotional moment for me. On my first day of office as Mayor, I wrote a letter to the USOC, declaring my dream to bring the Games back to LA. So, being here today is one step closer to that dream.”
If the dual-award proposal is approved today, it could be the final step to reaching that dream.
Paris’ presentation follows later at SwissTech Convention Center.
More to come…
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.