One thing has become apparent throughout the bidding process to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games: the Olympics need to change. Los Angeles and Paris have crafted unique bids that focus less on spectacle and feats of engineering designed specifically for the Games, and more on lessening the economic and political impact hosting the Olympics can leave. While every Olympics bid must have certain safeguards in place to reduce economic whiplash once the frenzy of the Games ends, few hosts have proven capable of effectively implementing these plans, often to the detriment of the most economically disenfranchised members of the community.
Public opposition to hosting the Games forced Budapest to drop its bid in February, and new opposition to the Games has arisen in Los Angeles, despite LA2024’s claim of an 88% public approval rating. A group known as NOlympics LA has formed to combat LA2024’s efforts to bring the Olympics to the city “not just for 2024 or 2028, but forever [sic].” The group, which hopes to emulate the No Boston Olympics movement, claims that hosting the Olympics would not serve the interests of working-class Los Angelenos.
It is difficult to ascertain what kind of impact NOlympics LA will have on the IOC’s decision, if any, given its 11th-hour launch; however, if Los Angeles were awarded the 2028 Olympic Games, the group would have more than a decade to rally public antipathy for the Games. So far the group has thrown shade on LA2024 and its bid by claiming that the City of Los Angeles ought not divert public funds to hosting the Olympics and instead focus on the city’s homeless and poverty-stricken populations. However, LA will not be building new infrastructure to accommodate the Olympics, and the California Legislative Analyst Office’s (LAO) has given LA2024’s bid a positive appraisal.
NOlympics LA also raises concerns about the IOC and its sincerity regarding the Olympic Agenda 2020, which, broadly speaking, outlines 40 recommendations by the IOC to future Olympic hosts that, when implemented, should reduce Olympic costs and impact, as well as strengthen sports in society. NOlympics LA, on the other hand, does not want to “hand over the keys to our city to the IOC, who have proven time and time again that their only interest is in razing cities for their own profit [sic],” and that “The goal of NOlympics LA is to get the Olympics out of LA, not just for 2024 or 2028, but forever, while we continue to build a foundation for other cities to oppose the IOC and its false claims [sic].”
Though 2028 seems like a long ways away for the organizers of LA2024, it is not impossible that LA could host the Games four years later than hoped for, following statements made by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. While Garcetti and LA2024 remain set on hosting the 2024 Games, Garcetti stated that he believes awarding both editions of the Games at the same time is the best move for the future of the Olympics and most in-step with the Olympic Movement. As Garcetti told IOC president Thomas Bach, “I what’s best for this Movement first and then what’s best for my bid second [sic].” Still, Garcetti claims that LA2024 is better equipped to host the 2024 Games as it has more infrastructure already in place than Paris, which would have to build an Olympic Village, something LA would avoid.
Despite Garcetti’s amenable attitude to accepting the 2028 Games if that is what the IOC decides is best, Garcetti and others behind LA2024 are not relinquishing the rights to host the 2024 Games yet.
Below is the latest installment of LA2024’s “Legendary Venues” series which features The Forum, with guests Magic Johnson and Wayne Gretzky, former all-stars in the NBA and NHL, respectively. Johnson, a member of Team USA’s 1992 Olympic “Dream Team” is an Olympic gold medalist and saw his number 33 jersey retired at his alma mater Michigan State. Gretzky, though a winter-sports guy, played in LA for the Kings for eight seasons and is hockey’s GOAT, despite not having an Olympic medal of his own. Gretzky is a proponent of the Olympics even though they interfere with the NHL season. Though the NHL sent players to the past five Winter Olympic Games, the NHL will not send players to next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The Forum, one of many potential 2024 Olympic venues in LA, plays host to a multitude of sports teams and tournaments and other events year-round. When LA hosted the Olympics in 1984, The Forum hosted the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and the men’s handball tournament.