Supporting L.A.’s Bid for the 2024 Olympics
The last time the Olympics were in Southern California in 1984 it was a different world.
Russians and the Soviet bloc countries were boycotting the Games and after Tehran withdrew from consideration, Los Angeles was the only bid for the Olympics that year. The Soviet countries even hosted an alternative Games so their athletes could still compete, despite their political decision not to participate.
The Olympics that year went off beautifully – traffic mitigation efforts resulted in less traffic than usual on the streets of Los Angeles even if there had been no Games. We were able to round up corporate sponsors to defray local government costs, and it made L.A.’s star shine even brighter before the world.
That Olympics were particularly memorable. Who can forget Carl Lewis leading the track and field team to 40 medals, with Lewis earning four gold himself? Or Greg Louganis finally capturing a diving gold? Even the opening ceremony captured our imagination with jetpacks!
Los Angeles is the only city in the world to host the summer Olympics twice, and for good reason. We know how to do the Olympics right.
And that’s why L.A. is the perfect choice once again in 2024. With the withdrawal of Boston’s bid last year, United States needs a candidate city that will be ready to go on Day One.
Competition will be tough – Paris, Rome and Budapest have all put forward strong bids – but I believe Los Angeles is the ideal city.
We already have the infrastructure that will support the influx of millions of tourists and thousands of athletes. We host massive internationally known sporting events and festivals every year. And we have one of the best resources in our backyard already – the entertainment industry – that knows how to put on a show or, in this case, a spectacle like the Olympics.
Most Olympic cities have to build out the infrastructure to host the games, sometimes being willing to spend wildly to attract the Olympics and then going over budget. Los Angeles is uniquely suited because we already have many of the athletic venues, transportation options and hotel availability built and up to snuff.
Imagine this – beach volleyball on the white sands of Santa Monica, archery in the San Gabriel Mountains, basketball at Staples Center, baseball at Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine. You can also imagine equestrian events at Santa Anita Park and sailing in one of the marinas. If only we could get kayaking on the L.A. River!
It’s amazing the breadth of different locales and centers across Los Angeles that already exist and would be perfect for each different event.
And in the coming years, we are already investing in infrastructure projects to improve transportation across the city and in green spaces to revitalize it. Some of these projects, like the Extension of the Gold Line and the Expo Line to Santa Monica from downtown, are already in operation or soon will be, and more are slated over the next decade.
Here’s the final reason I believe that the Olympics should be in L.A. – the last time we hosted the Olympics, it greatly benefited the community.
Beyond the honor of having the
Games, and being able to attend events across the city, residents benefited with a massive influx of cash to community programs.
Because of the profits from the Games, since 1985 more than three million boys and girls, and more than 1,100 youth sports organizations throughout Southern California, have benefited from the endowment of $220 million to the LA84 Foundation. In addition to the tremendous benefits to our local economy, it’s my hope that once again a good deal of money can be funneled back into the community.
That’s why I was proud to help introduce a resolution in Congress to support Los Angeles’s 2024 Olympics bid. I expect it to receive strong support from our California colleagues, and eventually on the House floor later this year.
The time is right, and Los Angeles is the right city to host the Olympics in 2024.
Rep. Adam Schiff represents California’s 28th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.