Lima: Los Angeles bid chiefs are adamant that they see this week’s award of the 2028 Olympics to the city as a victory, shrugging off suggestions that rival Paris ultimately won the battle for the 2024 Games.
For the first time in history, the Olympics will confirm two Summer Games host cities at the same time on Wednesday, when Paris is handed hosting rights for 2024 and Los Angeles wins 2028.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the decision to make a double award following a meeting in July, with president Thomas Bach anxious to capitalise on two strong bids at a time when fewer and fewer cities are willing to take on the cost of staging the Games.
But while Paris 2024 organisers prepare to celebrate this week’s award, Los Angeles officials insist that they are no less jubilant despite having to wait 11 more years to stage the Games.
Los Angeles accepted the 2028 Games after thrashing out a deal, which will see the city’s bid receive around $100 million more than Paris in IOC funding.
“If these terms were presented to me today and I could choose between 2024 and 2028 with the terms we have, I would be derelict in my duty not to choose 2028,” said Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, one of the city’s bid leaders.
Garcetti said the long run-up to the 2028 Olympics would enable the city to benefit immediately.
“We can begin to deliver our legacy next year, instead of waiting until the year after the 2024 Olympics,” he said.
“To give our people, young people in impoverished neighbourhoods access to sports, that’s a no-brainer for me.”
Los Angeles bid chief Casey Wasserman said waiting until 2028 had “produced a frankly much better economic result”.
“We think the result is extraordinary,” Wasserman said, insisting there would be no sense of anticlimax following the vote.
“We’ll be celebrating on Wednesday night and through the weekend in LA for sure,” he said.
Wasserman insisted the Los Angeles bid team harboured no regrets about opting to take the offer of 2028 rather than pursuing 2024 in a straight fight with Paris.
“We were prepared to obviously, all the way along,” Wasserman said.
“But when the double award became clear, the opportunity to provide certainty out of situation that never provides it was truly unique.
“The result we delivered economically is unprecedented in Olympic history. We’re proud to take advantage of that.”
IOC President Thomas Bach will head to California this weekend to light the 1984 Olympic cauldron as a guest at a Los Angeles Rams NFL game, it was confirmed.
Bach will travel from Lima following the IOC session this week which will see Paris confirmed as 2024 Olympic hosts while Los Angeles is awarded the 2028 Olympic Games.
“The Games have given Los Angeles so much joy and inspiration over the years, and IOC President Thomas Bach is always a welcome and honoured guest,” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.