A poll commissioned in early August by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) revealed 81 per cent across Los Angeles support the city’s possible Olympic bid for the 2024 Games. The number that was even higher than when the city was conducting a domestic campaign last December must have been music to the ears of USOC CEO Scott Blackmun after his organization parted ways with Boston’s bid last month with public support at just half that.
On that, the USOC has now focused efforts on nominating the California city as host of the Games by the September 15 International Olympic Committee (IOC) deadline.
“The board authorized Scott Blackmun to work with Los Angeles to further explore the viability of a bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.” USOC Chairman Larry Probst announced Wednesday.
“We are working on a truncated timeline but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to take the time to make sure that this works well for both partners in the partnership,” Blackmun said, referring to time spent on Boston’s derailed bid that has been in the works since it was selected in January.
“Our discussions with LA today have been very, very positive but there are complicated issues in the discussions so I’m very optimistic we’re going to get to a place that’s good for both of us.”
Boston’s bid was ended last month after wallowing public support forced Mayor Marty Wash to decline his original offer to sign a host city agreement that would have backed the bid with tax payer’s dollars.
For L.A., Blackmun said “what we do have is a commitment to sign the host city contract as presented by the IOC based on the assumption it is going to be similar to host city agreements in the past.”
“Mayor Garcetti has already indicated that he understands that.
“I think that’s a non-issue in the case of Los Angeles.”
Blackmun credited the encouraging poll number to the city’s experience hosting the Games in both 1984 and 1932.
“I can tell you that the people of Los Angeles are very proud of their Olympic legacy, I think they are very excited about the opportunities that a Games presents.
“I think LA has been there and understands the tremendous upside but they’re also very aware that with any bid project there is risk but they have taken a hard look at that and the calculus they have done suggest the benefits outweigh the risks.”
Blackmun revealed that opposition in the poll was very low.
He also said that political support is solid.
“We have near unanimous support of Los Angeles’ Congressional delegation; we have the support of city council; we have the support of the Governor’s office.”
He said there are letters to back this up.
Along with the support and political backing, Probst said that the USOC was also impressed that Los Angeles’ plans align well with the IOC Agenda 2020 reforms on sustainability.
Should the USOC select Los Angeles to bid for 2024 Olympic Games?
- Yes (68%)
- No (25%)
- Not Sure (6%)
At Wednesday’s Board of Directors meeting the USOC also discussed the other two cities that were involved in the domestic phase of the bid last year, Washington and San Francisco, as well as a couple of others that “reached out” – but ultimately it decided to move forward with Los Angeles.
The USOC is hoping to finalize plans by the end of August prior the IOC deadline but Probst and Blackmun refused to reveal any details on what needs to be discussed and worked out prior to coming to an agreement.
Earlier this week, the National Football League heard proposals from three of its franchises to locate their teams, and build stadiums in the Los Angeles area. Only one stadium can be approved, and with no final decisions expected for months – it’s possible that there could be a link with an Olympic bid.
Currently Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome are in the race to host the 2024 Games while Baku and Toronto are still considering their options. IOC President Thomas Bach has made it clear that he expects the USOC to honour its commitment to put forth a bid.
The host city will be elected September 2017 in Lima, Peru.