Another city dropped their bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. The IOC will make their final selection on September 13th.
USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES — After one afternoon on the campuses Los Angeles has proposed as part of its bid to host the 2024 Olympics, even the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission members were ready to go back to school.
On the second day of the commission’s visit on Thursday, the group toured all but one of the proposed venues in LA 2024’s plan. Not surprising to bid organizers was the impression left by UCLA, which would serve as the athlete village and training center, and USC, which would host the media village and main press center.
“These were really very impressive, very impressive because these two beautiful campuses, they have everything for what the Games will be needed for,” said Patrick Baumann, chair of the commission.
The athletes village and press center are some of the costliest items for host cities, but several recent Games have required new construction for the projects.
That Paris 2024 would have to build its athletes’ village could become a key distinction, and one that Los Angeles organizers feel particularly good about following the commission’s visit.
“It’s not hard to imagine the majesty of 17,000 athletes in that village in the summer of 2024. We think that’s certainly a compelling proposition,” said Casey Wasserman, chairman of LA 2024. “We know what a challenge it is to construct, deliver and operate a village in any big urban setting, so we do believe that the asset that UCLA has as the village is remarkable. They’re world-class facilities. And the truth is, you couldn’t replicate those from scratch.”
Los Angeles has pitched UCLA as being uniquely capable of accommodating the demands of hosting Olympians, touting existing housing, common areas to socialize and extensive training venues the athletes would have in the village. Even the food, which IOC commission members tried in their visit, adds to the athlete experience.
“Having taken a tour at UCLA and what the village is going to be, it is very, very nice from the standpoint of previous Games,” said sprinter Allyson Felix, a six-time Olympic gold medalist. “It’s so important because I think it’s hard for a lot of people to think about it, but when you’re talking about, you’re not in your own bed, all these kind of things that change, it’s actually a very, very good situation that’s being offered here.”
Christophe Dubi, executive director of the Olympic Games, noted that it was important for the commission to ask about operational teams.
“Not only (do) the venues exist, but they host a range of events,” he said.
Each with a rich Olympic tradition — USC athletes have won 307 medals while UCLA athletes have 261 — the campuses could provide a key role in LA’s effort to secure the Games.
“It’s not whether it’s there or not yet there. This is not about comparing the two candidatures in their different approach to a village,” Baumann said. “I think the most important for the evaluation commission is to see that the plans for the Olympic village respond to the needs of the athletes, that they make sure they get the best possible environment in which they will be able to rest, prepare, train and eventually compete.”
By the end of the IOC’s tour, LA organizers not only felt secure in the fact that their buildings exist but that they could provide the athlete experience the commission is seeking.
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