LA28 Chairman Casey Wasserman Breaks Down 2028 Olympic Location Choices

In wake of the announcement that swimming would inside So-Fi Stadium for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games, LA28 committee chairman Casey Wasserman spoke to media at Lucas Oil Stadium about the decision Saturday. Wasserman provided additional information about the logistics surrounding the decisions, as well as decisions relating to other sports such as softball.

Wasserman said that it was “very unlikely” that the 2028 U.S. Olympic trials for swimming would be in So-Fi stadium, due to the fact that there would be concerts happening in the stadium that would conflict with the meet and the construction of the pool. Additionally, LA28 also needs time to prepare for the opening ceremony in So-Fi. Bcause of the opening ceremony, swimming will pushed to week two of the Games (different from its typical time slot during week one), and parts of the pool deck will have to be built in five days.

Despite the fact that the 2024 U.S. Olympic trials, which are happening inside Lucas Oil Stadium, happen four years before the LA28 Olympics, Wasserman said that LA28 and USA Swimming both inspired each other when it came to the idea of hosting swim meets in NFL stadiums.

In addition, Wasserman said that the pools for the LA Games would likely be built by the same people who built the pools inside Lucas Oil Stadium.

“We started thinking about alternative locations for swimming, and in conversations with USA Swimming, [we sad] we’ve been exploring this idea because it’s obviously complicated,” Wasserman said of putting swimming in a football stadium. “They said, ‘look, we’ve thought about it too and if you’re going to head that way, we’re going to go first and really learn all the lessons, create the opportunity.”

It was originally part of the LA28 plan for swimming to be held at a temporary venue on Derivaux Field, the baseball field at the University of Southern California. However, because USC’s campus master plan was changed, the field was no longer available for the games — a fact that Wasserman said was known by the committee for several years.

Wasserman will be in attendance for night eight finals of Olympic trials — which will include the women’s 800 free final headlined by Katie Ledecky, who is on the board of LA28.

On Softball

Wasserman also discussed the decision to move softball and slalom canoe to Oklahoma City for the games, a choice that was met with massive controversy within the softball community. He said that part of the reason why softball, which was at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics but won’t be played at the 2024 Paris Olympics, got moved to the city was to save cost.

“When you add sports, you add cost and complexity,” Wasserman said. “So anything we can do to reduce cost and complexity, we’re gonna take advantage of because as everyone knows, we’re responsible for paying for these games.”

Oklahoma City is home to the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, which is where the Women’s College World Series has been played every year since 1990 (with the exception of 1996). Wasserman is against the idea of putting softball in a baseball stadium, despite the fact that there are two Major League Baseball stadiums (Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium) in the L.A. area and baseball will likely be played at Dodger stadium.

However, Wasserman says that softball and slalom canoe athletes will get the opportunity to be in L.A. to attend at least one of the opening or closing ceremonies.

“We think softball is an incredible sport. So to showcase it in a baseball stadium is less than the best presentation of what is a spectacular sport, and we don’t think that’s fair to the sport of softball to put it in Angel Stadium,” Wasserman said. “[Oklahoma City[ has the best venue probably in the world for softball — it’s one of the most important sports in [Oklahoma], in that community, and that’s going to create the greatest experience for softball athletes around the world.”

On Caitlin Clark

In addition, Wasserman was asked about the decision to leave Indiana Fever rookie and 2024 WNBA No. 1 overall draft pick Caitlin Clark off the 2024 Paris U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team, which has drawn controversy due to Clark’s popularity in the sport. He calls the decision a “missed opportunity” to grow women’s basketball.

“[Clark] is clearly a generational talent at a time when the world was ready for it,” Wasserman said. “There have have been incredible talents and shame on all of us, [we weren’t] in a place to embrace that. I mean, take Diana [Tirausi] or Breanna Stewart…they’re dominant at a level that’s never been seen before. But the world wasn’t ready to fill a building like [they did for Clark.]”

“I just think it would have been an opportunity to elevate the women’s team.”

Wasserman also pointed out that Clark didn’t get the opportunity to be evaluated by USA Basketball in the same way that other players were, as she had to miss the only National Team training camp she was invited to because she had been playing in the NCAA Final Four.

However, Wasserman also acknowledges that the difficulties of being on the selection committee for the Olympic team, who prioritized picking out the best possible team for Paris. Notably, Clark does not have any experience playing with the senior national team in the past.

“I understand the other side of it, which is an independent process,” Wasserman said. “If it were simple, we wouldn’t be debating it.”

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KeithM
24 days ago

So in all of Sunny Southern California, home to 25 million people, they couldn’t find a workable local softball venue? Still 4 years out from the games? I find this frankly ridiculous. Blair Field in Long Beach?

nickp
24 days ago

UCLA’s softball stadium is small and no room to expand

M C
24 days ago

I’m probably missing something but I’m sure that UCLA and USC have softball stadiums.

Joe
Reply to  M C
24 days ago

Haha. UCLA plays in the Rose Bowl and USC plays in the Coliseum – where track and field will be.

RealSlimThomas
24 days ago

I’m sorry, but I cannot follow the argument that putting softball in a baseball stadium is “less than the best representation” ..????

Baseball runs through the Olympics I believe. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team owner(s) didn’t want to lose the home games for whatever kind of prep, competition, and then break down.

IU Swammer
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
24 days ago

I’m guessing that the differences in the field size would make it look funny in an MBL stadium. But it does seem like those obstacles could be overcome. It’s not that hard to bring in turf to re-make the infield, and they could put a temporary fence to shorten the outfield.

Swim3057
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
24 days ago

In 1984, Dodgers left town during Olympics and baseball was held at Dodger Stadium

Horninco
Reply to  Swim3057
24 days ago

Astros left town for a month for the RNC back in 84

I think the issue is softball venues that don’t need massive cash infusions to hold the crowds and security

I can’t figure out why that can’t do it somewhere. Build 4-6 temporary fields somewhere in socal

Bo Swims
Reply to  Swim3057
24 days ago

Flames left town during for 4 weeks in 1988 during the Winter Olympics.

cynthia curran
24 days ago

Well, Oklahoma is probably better for softball, and Anaheim has indoor Volleyball because of the national team practicing there and there is pro volleyball in the area. The Honda center seats 18,000 for Volleyball.

Mac
24 days ago

It’s horrible that ANY sport moves to another state for the games.

AmericanDad
Reply to  Mac
24 days ago

In the ‘96 Atlanta Olympics, I watched a soccer game in DC. Not unusual for venues to be in different locations than the host city.

Comet16
Reply to  AmericanDad
24 days ago

USA v Portugal at RFK

Thorpe>Phelps>Steelers>Biedermann
Reply to  Mac
24 days ago

Whats the big deal?

Swim3057
Reply to  Mac
24 days ago

In 1996 opening rounds of soccer held outside of GA, but the medal rounds were held at the University of Georgia in Sanford Stadium

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Swim3057
24 days ago

Huh, that prolly would’ve been a good compromise

chickenlamp
24 days ago

Do we think they will hold 2028 trials in Indy again? I was assuming trials would in the Olympic pool but sounds like that’s off the table now with the move to SoFi. I’m not sure what the financial impact of 2024 trials, but from a spectator perspective it was a success. And they can probably get even higher attendance in 2028 with it being a home Olympics

Thorpe>Phelps>Steelers>Biedermann
Reply to  chickenlamp
24 days ago

I am sure Braden and YanYan might have some insights

Admin
Reply to  chickenlamp
24 days ago

The thought that it was going to be in LA was around economies of scale of hosting it in the Olympic pool. But, it’s pretty clear now that SoFi won’t host.

Most of the power brokers in swimming want it back in Indy. I could write a novel about USA Swimming and their part of this meet, but Indy as a city did a great job. I would be thrilled if it went back there.

Swim3057
Reply to  Braden Keith
24 days ago

I’ll buy that novel and probably be nodding my head throughout 😂

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  chickenlamp
24 days ago

Put it in Vegas. Different location. Many places this could be done. And keeps it “closer” to LA.

Horninco
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
24 days ago

Yeah the raiders stadium would be incredible venue

HoosierSwimTaxi
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
24 days ago

Laughable that other U.S. cities think that they can host swimming trials just because Indianapolis did it. Most states do not care about the sport; Indiana does, and just a handful of other states (California, Texas, Florida, maybe New Jersey) can replicate its swimming culture. Further, swimming is at heart an age-group sport. How many families will want to visit a convention center where prostitution is legal & open?

NCFan
Reply to  HoosierSwimTaxi
24 days ago

Don’t have a domed stadium to host it (neither do Florida nor Jersey) but don’t diss the swim culture in NC. Most OT qualifiers by far, most scholastic All-Americas every year, multiple Top 5 Gold Medal clubs every year, multiple established and emerging NCAA D1 programs, insane summer league support, and one of the top competition venues in the country (GAC). NC has it all levels except for probably high school where it still produces scores of high school All Americans even if it doesn’t have the same emphasis.

Last edited 24 days ago by NCFan
Meow
Reply to  HoosierSwimTaxi
24 days ago

Tell me you’ve never been to Vegas without telling me you’ve never been to Vegas.

The Magic Man
Reply to  HoosierSwimTaxi
24 days ago

North Carolina, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Colorado, Nevada, Washington…

oxyswim
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
24 days ago

Vegas in June when it’s 110 every day?

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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