The USOC cut ties with Boston on Monday, with less than two months to find a replacement for a race that includes Paris; Rome; Hamburg, Germany; and Budapest, Hungary. Well, for starters, it’s clear that the US is no longer the willing ex always happy to rekindle a steamy romance.
Twenty-one members of Southern California’s congressional delegation sent a letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee Wednesday urging the panel to “give full and fair consideration” to choosing Los Angeles as a bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
So, while it’s fun to give the needle back to our friends in Boston, they got it right. New York finished fourth out of five finalists for the 2012 Olympics. Citizens for a Say was led by Evan Falchuk, who ran for governor last year and secured enough votes to establish electoral credentials for the United Independent Party. Los Angeles, one of the cities Boston beat earlier this year for the U.S. bid, is the new front-runner for the chance to be fleeced. San Francisco and Washington were not in the mix at the end.
Hours before his group’s Olympic bid collapsed, Boston 2024 co-founder Corey Dinopoulos wrote a letter to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
It seems the IOC leadership would be pleased to consider any U.S. city this time around.
“In some ways, the USOC said, ‘Let’s see if this works, ‘” USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny said of the Boston selection. Officials could scare Angelenos off the road again (remember Carmageddon?) but they likely won’t have to: LA is in the midst of a public transit renaissance, building out several critical rail lines faster than any other American city. Walsh asserted he would not commit to anything that would mortgage his city’s future to fund the Olympic Games.
Los Angeles’ proposal incorporated numerous area’s most famous sites: Santa Monica beach, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, the Rose Bowl, the Hollywood sign.
There would be hurdles to overcome.
The Boston of the 1980s was very different from the Boston we live in today. In LA, the big events, including the opening and closing ceremonies, would happen at the LA Coliseum in Exposition Park, which was built in 1932 for the first Olympics and reused for the 1984 games as well. Boston 2024 chairman Seve Pagliuca says they look forward to offering their support and knowledge to any American city chosen to participate in the 2024 bidding process going forward.
Through the debate, Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College, brought irrefutable evidence that host cities (and their residents) pay dearly for the honor of sitting in the front row of one of the world’s premier sporting events. Whether Los Angeles can change that narrative is yet to be seen.
“We had a commitment from USOC for an Olympic candidature for 2024”.
Public opinion polling has consistently shown low levels of support for a Boston Olympics and many elected officials in Massachusetts have opted against coming out strongly in favor of a Boston Olympics, saying repeatedly that they hoped to safeguard tax dollars. For years, cities viewed hosting the Olympics as a badge of prestige and patriotism to be fought over.
There’s still time, though, to save face if chairman Larry Probst and Blackmun make quick phone calls to leaders in Los Angeles, including Mayor Eric Garcetti and agent/power broker Casey Wasserman. “It’s a natural fit for something like the Olympics”.
Candidate cities must officially notify the global Olympic Committee by mid-September.