LA 2024 Chief Operating Officer John Harper says Los Angeles is “the right city at the right time” to host the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee would seem to agree.
After the IOC voted to simultaneously award the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games, the drama is over the order in which L.A.
and Paris will host.
At least publicly, Los Angeles has been more willing to accept a later date. But Harper insists the IOC would be wise to start with L.A. “It’s a critical time for the Olympic movement,” he says. “We don’t have to build permanent venues—that takes a lot of risk out of the plan. That’s why we’re focused on bidding for 2024.”
IOC met in Lausanne, Switzerland, July 11-12 to formalize the process to select hosts for 2024 and 2028. The upside is the IOC is now able to lock in two world-class cities. However, the later Olympics could be viewed as a consolation prize.
Regardless, selecting two cities at once reflects the current state of the Olympics, and underscore Harper’s arguments.
“Many cities don’t want to bid on the bids because of cost overruns,” Harper says.
As a case in point, the 2024 process has been whittled down to Los Angeles and Paris after Budapest and Rome dropped out of the running. Previously, Boston withdrew as the United States’ representative to bid on the 2024 Games.
L.A., a runner-up in the U.S. process, was selected as a replacement for the same reasons that it seems destined to become the first U.S. city since Atlanta to the Summer Olympics.
“Los Angeles puts on big events every day,” says Harper. “It’s in our DNA.”
Host With the Most
Harper points to a study by Loyola Marymount University that found there’s 88 percent support
in the region to bring back the Olympics and Paralympics. Hosting the 2024 Games would also be a fitting way for Los Angeles to mark the 30-year anniversary of the 1984 Games, also in the city.
Harper says the positive effects of the 1984 Olympics remain present. “It delivered millions dollars back into the community to build programming and facilities,” he says.
But there’s no counting on nostalgia in this process. Harper’s arguments are mostly practical.
Staples Center and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum are among the ready-made venues for Olympic events. While rain has delayed the opening of Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park (the future home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers), it will have already hosted a Super Bowl in 2022, two years prior to the Olympics. Other regional destinations, like Anaheim
, are also incorporated into the planning.
Expansion of L.A.’s subway system will only offset transportation difficulties associated with large events, adds Harper.
Harper says because most big-ticket items already in place, LA 2024 can budget more for community engagement.
L.A. looks like it has a winning bid—all that’s left is learning when the countdown
“This is an opportunity to connect the games to a city and country that supports Olympics and looks to future,” Harper says.