Los Angeles vows privately financed 2024 Olympics
LOS ANGELES >> With 97 percent of the venues in existence or already planned by private investors, organizers of Los Angeles' bid for the 2024 Olympics are promising a prudent and responsible approach to running the games that would be entirely privately financed.
"That is the definition of sustainability in terms of legacy and cost," said Casey Wasserman, chairman of LA24. "There's no risk involved with venues or facilities."
On Wednesday, LA24 officials released a 64-page report submitted to the International Olympic Committee detailing their vision and concept for bringing the Olympics back to Los Angeles for a third time.
Organizers said that within three weeks of launching their bid last September, they secured $35 million in cash commitments from private donors.
The committee is emphasizing the city won't require any extra infrastructure beyond what is already planned for the vast, traffic-choked region over the coming years, including $300 billion in transportation upgrades. Part of that is an expansion of several rail lines and the first direct transit link to the city's main airport, which is currently undergoing a $14 billion modernization.
The bid mentions embracing new technology for ridesharing and parking, including an autonomous vehicle pilot program. Organizers want the "first energy positive" Olympics, including using solar power.
"We're going to come up with some things that will really help the games get to the next stage," bid CEO Gene Sykes said on a conference call.
Los Angeles is competing with Paris, Rome and Budapest, Hungary, for the games. The IOC will announce the winner next year.
"It's nothing but strong encouragement right now," U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Scott Blackmun said of initial reaction to the U.S. bid.
Organizers said they would work with the owner of the new NFL stadium being built in Inglewood to explore opportunities for its use in the games.
"The most expensive and technologically advanced stadium will certainly be a key part of our plans going forward," Wasserman said.
Organizers want to include Hollywood in the planning, too, although they offered no specific details.
The L.A. games would revolve around four clusters: downtown Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, along the coast on the city's west side and in the South Bay.
The renovated Los Angeles Coliseum would host track and field and opening and closing ceremonies; swimming and diving would be held in temporary pools at the 22,000-seat Los Angeles Football Club stadium set for completion in 2018; and gymnastics would be at the Forum in Inglewood.
There were some changes from the city's initial bid document, including moving gymnastics from Staples Center, which would now host basketball.
LA Live, the city's entertainment hub, and the University of Southern California campus would anchor the downtown cluster, with weightlifting at Microsoft Theater, badminton and taekwondo at Galen Center, and the Convention Center hosting boxing, fencing, handball, judo, table tennis and wrestling.
The valley cluster located in the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area would host canoe and slalom, with temporary facilities for equestrian, modern pentathlon and shooting.
The coastal cluster would revolve around Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus hosting volleyball and field hockey in two temporary venues, with the Los Angeles Tennis Center as the site of a temporary venue for water polo, and Santa Monica Beach hosting sand volleyball, triathlon and open water swimming.
The South Bay cluster would focus on the StubHub Center in Carson as the site of tennis, rugby, cycling at the renovated Velo Sports Center and BMX in a temporary venue.
Golf would be in Griffith Park, sailing on the L.A. waterfront, mountain biking in the Santa Monica Mountains, rowing and canoe/kayak at Lake Casitas in Ventura County, and soccer at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Only five venues used the last time Los Angeles hosted the Olympics in 1984 are part of the current bid, including the Coliseum, Rose Bowl and Pauley Pavilion.
The L.A. games would be held July 19-Aug. 4, 2024, followed by the Paralympics from Aug. 21-Sept. 1.
The athletes' village would be on the UCLA campus, where officials are planning for 16,500 to 17,000 beds for athletes and team officials. Organizers said 90 percent of all sports would occur within 30 minutes of the village.
The media would be housed on the USC campus, with the Main Press Center and International Broadcast Center built on NBCUniversal's property in Universal City. NBC has locked up the rights to televise the games in the U.S. through 2032.
The bid's insurance plan includes something unique to the Los Angeles region: earthquake coverage. It would cover costs if venue construction was delayed or became more expensive because of a quake.
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