Los Angeles could land the Olympics in ….?

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - ED­DIE PELLS AND MICHAEL R. BLOOD

Lead­ers in Los Angeles will guide their In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee guests from the Hol­ly­wood Hills to Santa Mon­ica Beach to a con­struc­tion site that will some­day be a $2.6 bil­lion NFL sta­dium that can also host soc­cer games.

If this week’s tour is a suc­cess, Los Angeles will earn the chance to host its third Olympics. But which Olympics? Of­fi­cially, Los Angeles and Paris are the only two bid­ders left for the 2024 Games that will be awarded in Septem­ber at a meet­ing of Olympic lead­ers in Lima, Peru. On the ta­ble, how­ever, is a pro­posal to use that meet­ing to dole out the next two Olympics — 2024 and 2028 — one to each city.

IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach said he wants to avoid pro­duc­ing so many losers in the mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar Olympic-bid­ding game. Un­said is Bach’s need to avoid an­other bid­ding de­ba­cle, sim­i­lar to the 2024 con­test, if the rules re­main the same for 2028.

The 2024 race be­gan with five cities, but slowly, awk­wardly, tapered down to two, af­ter Rome; Ham­burg, Ger­many; and Bu­dapest, Hun­gary; all pulled out. And that’s not in­clud­ing the em­bar­rass­ment the U.S. Olympic Com­mit­tee suf­fered when its first can­di­date city, Bos­ton, stepped aside be­cause of tepid — or, some might say, barely ex­is­tent — public sup­port.

Like Paris, Los Angeles is stick­ing to the party line, in­sist­ing it is in the mix only for 2024.

“Los Angeles is the right city for 2024 at this im­por­tant time for the Olympic Move­ment and is only bid­ding for 2024,” LA 2024 Chair­man Casey Wasser­man said.

The 2024-28 is­sue is hardly the only un­pre­dictable fac­tor in a bid­ding process that has grown more con­fus­ing, even as the num­ber of can­di­dates dwin­dled.

A look at the key is­sues Los Angeles faces as it hosts the eval­u­a­tion visit Tues­day through Fri­day:

POL­I­TICS: When U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump first is­sued his ex­ec­u­tive or­der tem­po­rar­ily ban­ning refugees and im­mi­grants from seven pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim coun­tries, it threw some Olympic sports into flux: Namely, the U.S. wrestling team was sched­uled for a trip to Iran, which was one of the banned coun­tries.

That is­sue was worked out, and Trump’s or­der is stalled in court, but his pres­ence will certainly be felt.

“Both coun­tries have a lot go­ing on po­lit­i­cally that can be game-chang­ers at any minute,” said Jules Boykoff, a pro­fes­sor at Pa­cific Univer­sity in Ore­gon who has writ­ten widely on the Olympics move­ment.

When cen­trist Em­manuel Macron de­feated far-right can­di­date Marine Le Pen in France’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, it took some un­cer­tainty out of the Paris bid.

Mean­while, Trump’s pop­ulist, “Amer­i­cafirst” mes­sage is hardly the arms-wide-open stance the Olympics em­brace. And yet, for his part, Trump is back­ing the bid, certainly know­ing this is the kind of win he’d love to be a part of — the U.S. hasn’t hosted a Sum­mer Games since 1996 — even if he plays a nom­i­nal role.

COST: Los Angeles is pledg­ing to stage the Games for a grand to­tal of $5.3 bil­lion, which would be around one-third of what Tokyo is ex­pected to spend for 2020. It’s a claim that speaks to Bach’s man­date to keep costs down and stop spend­ing bil­lions on sta­di­ums that don’t get used much once the Olympics end.

A strong point of the Los Angeles bid, cer­tain to be show­cased dur­ing the visit, is that 95 per cent of the pro­posed venues are al­ready built, in­clud­ing the Los Angeles Coli­seum, which would host the open­ing cer­e­monies, same as it did in 1932 and 1984.

TRAF­FIC: The 2016 cin­e­matic tribute to the sort of dreams that can come true in Los Angeles, “La La Land,” opened, fit­tingly enough, with a mu­si­cal num­ber tak­ing place amid grid­locked cars on the free­way dur­ing rush hour.

That traf­fic is as much a sym­bol of LA as the “Hol­ly­wood” sign or the NBA’s Lak­ers, and it’s cer­tain of­fi­cials will do their best to keep their guests far away from the snarls this week.

The bid prom­ises to bring 100 per cent of tick­eted spec­ta­tors to com­pe­ti­tion sites by public trans­porta­tion or sys­tems de­signed for spec­ta­tors, such as shut­tle buses.

There are also mem­o­ries of 1984, when traf­fic wasn’t much of a prob­lem in part be­cause many of the lo­cals left town or stayed off the free­ways.

EN­THU­SI­ASM: Time and again bid lead­ers have touted a poll, con­ducted by Loy­ola Mary­mount Univer­sity, which found 88 per cent of re­spon­dents wanted Los Angeles to host the Olympics.

As the vote and any po­ten­tial Games get closer, those num­bers will certainly change.

Al­ready in ques­tion is an LA24 claim that more than 1 mil­lion Face­book users said they wanted to see the Olympics in Los Angeles.

A re­port pre­pared for The As­so­ci­ated Press last month found that Los Angeles saw an ex­plo­sion of sup­port over a six-week pe­riod from places such as Bangladesh, Pak­istan, Nepal and In­done­sia.

In Bangladesh, for in­stance, sup­port­ers of the bid rose from a few dozen to more than 113,000 in the span of six weeks.

JAE C. HONG, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Los Angeles lead­ers, in­clud­ing Mayor Eric Garcetti, are try­ing to sell their plan to host the Olympic Games to visiting mem­bers of the IOC this week.

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