LA has ‘clear path’ to host 2028 Olympics

California dreaming: The opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. © Getty

The City of Angels has agreed to host the Olympic games in 11 years. But the bidding process was disappointingly brief, leaving many wondering whether the Olympics’ appeal is on the wane.

It still seems a long time away, but in 2028 Los Angeles looks set to become the third city in the world to host the Summer Olympics three times.

LA and Paris had both hoped to host the games in 2024, but after weeks of negotiations with the International Olympic Committee, LA has agreed to step aside for Paris in 2024, leaving it almost certain to host the 2028 games. Both cities will be announced as hosts in Lima, Peru, on September 13th this year.

The noises from the LA bidding team were predictably positive and idealistic. Eric Garcetti, the city’s mayor, tweeted that the agreement will “allow us to seed a legacy of hope and opportunity that will lift up every community in Los Angeles.”

But Alex Capstick of the BBC points out that it was a “disappointing” bidding contest. The IOC ended up with just two candidates for the two events.

Both are global cities that will encounter few problems hosting the event, but the contest was defined by a string of withdrawals from smaller cities that once harboured Olympic ambitions.

In Budapest, Hungary, opposition parties campaigned heavily against a bid, saying that the money could be spent on better healthcare, education and transport in the city. Financial troubles and the prospect of debt spelled the end for Rome. In Hamburg a referendum in 2015 saw 51.6% of people vote against an official bid.

Boston, Oslo, Krakow and Stockholm have gone the same way in the past. As Les Carpenter puts it in The Guardian: “None of them wanted to be Athens.” Many of the venues in the city which hosted the 2004 Olympics are now useless and falling into disrepair. What need does Greece have for a big baseball stadium?

The internet is peppered with similar images from the recent Olympics and football World Cup in Brazil. At the time, both were great spectacles. But both were beset by financial problems and the question of what to do with the new infrastructure once the events had finished.

The Olympics are seen by some as a crowning glory of humanity. But is their appeal in decline?

Games over?

“People are finally realising that hosting the Olympics just is not worth it,” say some. According to Jeff Ruffolo, an American who aided Beijing’s 2008 bid: “The Olympics are dead. It’s a dying concept no one wants to touch.” He believes lack of local demand is the key. People would rather see the money spent on other needs.

“Stop the hand-wringing,” reply others. Ahead of every Olympic games there are the same concerns, and yet every one turns out to be a roaring success that boosts the host city’s image. Hosting the games in Paris and LA will ensure sold-out venues and world-class facilities. The Olympics are still alive and well.

You Decide

  1. Would you like to see your home city host the Olympic games?
  2. Are the Olympics in decline?

Activities

  1. List five requirements you think an Olympic host city needs to have.
  2. Research what is meant by “the Olympic spirit”. Write 500 words on whether you think the modern games stay true to this spirit.

Some People Say...

“Sport can change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
That Paris and Los Angeles are set to be announced as the hosts of the 2024 and 2028 Olympics respectively. The bidding process for these two events was notable for the number of cities that withdrew, leaving Paris and LA as the only potential hosts still standing. We know that many people are reluctant to have the Olympics hosted in their city due to the vast costs they incur.
What do we not know?
Whether this unwillingness to host the Olympics reflects a wider fatigue with the event itself. Crowds at the Rio de Janeiro games last year were significantly lower than at London 2012, although many put that down to the fact that people in Rio are simply poorer than people in London.

Word Watch

Third city
Los Angeles hosted the Olympics in 1932 and 1984. The other cities are London (1908, 1948 and 2012) and Paris (1900, 1924 and 2024). The other American cities to host the Olympics are St Louis (1904) and Atlanta (1996).
Eric Garcetti
A member of the Democratic Party, Garcetti has been mayor of Los Angeles since 2013 after serving on the city’s council. He won re-election this year.
Boston
The city in Massachusetts had pitched its bid as a frugal Olympic games, insisting it would build upon existing facilities and erect temporary stadiums. But even then the infrastructure would have cost $10 billion, leading to weakening support among Bostonians for a bid.
World Cup in Brazil
Brazil spent $3 billion on new stadiums for the last World Cup. Some were in cities without a major top-flight team. The stadiums in Brasilia, Manaus and Cuiabá have all been significantly underused since the tournament.