NOlympics LA Won’t Rule Out Opposition Activity During IOC Visit

The newly formed Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid opposition group NOlympia won’t rule out organizing opposition activities during the evaluation visit of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) beginning Wednesday.

The three-day visit will allow the 14-member team to review bid documents and visit venues first-hand before they prepare a report for almost 90 IOC members who will choose from between LA and Paris to host the Games in 2024.

IOC member Patrick Baumann will lead the team.

When asked by Monday whether opposition plans are being organized to take place while the IOC is in the city, Jonny Coleman, spokesperson from the NOlympia campaign launched by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA-LA) – wouldn’t confirm or deny the possibility.

But Coleman did say the timing of the campaign launch was connected to the IOC visit.

He said “the confluence of the 25th anniversary of the ’92 Unrest and the IOC’s visit to LA make this the perfect time to talk about how the Olympics impacts the lives of all Angelenos – not just wealthy tourists.”

“We’re not convinced [a poll showing 88 per cent support of the bid] reflects any real tangible love for the Games,” he said.

“The people of LA have been sold a false narrative of the 1984 Games and for the Olympics in general. Once they hear from us and our partners, we feel confident that many of those who have supported the Olympics bid will change their outlook.”

The group recently set up a Website, Twitter and Facebook page and plan to provide a new platform for people to discuss issues surrounding the bid.  The Website suggests drawbacks of a Games in Los Angeles and says there are “consequences of a ‘good’ Olympics, where everything goes according to plan, nothing goes over budget, and there are no major ecological disasters or other crises.”

Lausanne 2020 Bid President and IOC Member Patrick Baumann presents to IOC

IOC Member Patrick Baumann will lead the 2024 Olympic Bid Evaluation Commission in Los Angeles and Paris

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) chose Los Angeles to bid for the Games when it was forced to part ways with Boston after an opposition movement sent public support numbers there below 40 per cent.  The group ‘No Boston Olympics’ led by Chris Dempsey used social media on a shoestring budget to turn taxpayers against the city’s plans.

Dempsey went on to advise opposition groups against 2024 bids from Hamburg, Rome and Budapest – all of which have subsequently exited the race.  Both Dempsey and Coleman confirmed with that they have already discussed the situation in Los Angeles.

Dempsey said he has advised Coleman on “what worked in Boston.”

Coleman said [“No Boston Olympics] have all been encouraging, informative, and extremely intelligent. They know how to do this, and now we do too.”

He added “we’re not opposed to international sporting events and celebrate the achievements of all Olympic athletes. We just don’t want to sacrifice the well-being of our neighbors and our city so that the IOC can profit.”

LA 2024 is a privately funded initiative with 88 per cent public support that plans to organize the Games without building any permanent venues and with no risk of unsustainable legacies.  NOlympics LA doesn’t deny that the Games could be profitable and successful, but they argue that there could be a negative social and economic legacy.

The IOC Evaluation Commission will be visiting LA until Friday before they head to rival Paris to conduct a similar inspection in the French capital.

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.