This week, the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games (SCCOG) published its comprehensive plan for LA to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The process began on February 19, 2013 with a letter from United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun to then-mayor Antonio Villaraigosa inviting Los Angeles to submit a bid to become host city for 2024. On March 4, 2013 Villaraigosa responded, confirming the city’s “enthusiastic interest in bidding to host the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
On his first day in office, July 1, 2013, newly-elected mayor Eric Garcetti wrote a letter to USOC Chairman Larry Probst and CEO Blackmun, enclosing a unanimous Los Angeles City Council resolution of support for the project.
The SCCOG participated in two working sessions with the United States Olympic Committee in the fall of 2013 and submitted their plan this week. Seven cities (Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington DC) are in the running for 2024. The USOC hasn’t hosted the Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996.
The SCCOG plan calls for a primary cluster in Downtown L.A. and three satellite clusters: the Westside, Avalon, and the Harbor.
- Downtown L.A. – With 12 venues hosting 19 sporting events, the Olympic Village and potentially the International Broadcast Center, DTLA is the heart of the plan. The Olympic Park would be situated in Exposition Park, just south of USC, and home to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Science Centre. The centerpiece of Olympic Park would be a transformed and covered Los Angeles Coliseum that would accommodate 80,000 spectators. The SCCOG envisages building a 20,000-seat soccer stadium on the site which would be used as a temporary aquatics venue for swimming and synchronized swimming. Diving would take place at USC’s Uytengsu Aquatics Center, while water polo would be contested at the LA84 Foundation/John C. Argue Swim Stadium, originally constructed for the 1932 Olympics. Santa Monica beach is the proposed venue for open water swimming.
- The Westside – Comprising 5 venues and 7 sports, the Westside Cluster centers around Santa Monica and Westwood.
- Avalon – The Avalon Cluster proposes 4 venues and 5 sports, using venues in the vicinity of the StubHub Stadium.
- Harbor – With 5 venues and 8 sports, the Harbor Cluster uses existing facilities in Long Beach.
The SCCOG expects to connect all of the venues by an ongoing expansion of the LA metro rail system and is “committed to delivering up to 80 percent of the spectators by public transit.”
In addition to the new temporary aquatics venue in the DTLA cluster, the plan calls for the use of “Belmont Pool,” “Spieker Aquatics” (UCLA’s pool), and “8 more.”
Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool has been the subject of much controversy over the last several years (see our most recent reports here and here). The replacement pool, a 10-lane 50-meter outdoor Myrtha facility, was never meant to be permanent. However, the latest plan is to keep it, even after the construction of the new indoor facility. This should give Long Beach a state-of-the-art facility that would be a boost to the aquatics part of the 2024 plan.
As for the eight other facilities, it is unclear what the committee had in mind. There are no other Olympic-ready swim stadia in the Los Angeles area that come to mind. Most of Southern California’s pools are outdoor facilities that would need to be covered. If Los Angeles gets the bid, though, they will have seven years to work on either bringing existing pools up to Olympic standards or to build new accommodations.
The USOC is responsible for selecting a candidate city whenever the U.S. bids for the Games. For 2024, the USOC would have to submit a candidate to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by a yet-to-be-determined date in 2015. By tradition, the IOC will select the 2024 host city in 2017, seven years in advance.