An LA Olympics? Really? (placeholder)

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AOlympic_flame_at_opening_ceremony.jpg; By I, Alterego, took this photo and release under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

In this case, the question mark doesn’t denote whether it’ll happen or not – the news reports yesterday are that this is a definitive yes, most likely in 2028, after an unusual Olympic Committee decision in which they awarded the 2024 and the 2028 games to LA and Paris with the instruction to work it out between themselves which goes when.

As the Los Angeles Times reports,

Los Angeles is all but guaranteed to host the Summer Games for a third time after Olympic leaders made the unusual decision Tuesday to name two winners in the bid race between L.A. and Paris, giving 2024 to one city and 2028 to the other.

After the historic vote by International Olympic Committee members gathered in Switzerland, one key question remained.

Can the cities agree on who goes second?

“We’re one step closer to making it happen,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters at a news conference in Lausanne. “I have full confidence we will get there.”

Even though his counterpart, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, expressed similar optimism, the French have repeatedly dismissed the idea of waiting another four years. It has been widely speculated that L.A. bid leaders — who have been more flexible on the issue — will seek financial or other concessions in return for accepting 2028.

But if the IOC, L.A. and Paris cannot reach an accord, the final selection in mid-September will revert to a winner-take-all vote for 2024 only.

This report came as a bit of a surprise as I hadn’t really read anything prior except for reports that the Olympics had become toxic due to their cost.  (I was quite certain I had blogged on the subject of Chicago’s failed bid but apparently this was long enough ago that I really just, as was my practice pre-blogging, spent overmuch time in comment sections of other blogs talking about what a horrible idea it was.)  Reportedly, LA’s proposal was much more cost-efficient:

L.A. — which hosted the Games in 1932 and 1984 — would rely almost entirely on such facilities as the Coliseum, Pauley Pavilion and Staples Center. UCLA would house athletes and USC would accommodate the media.

Wikipedia lists a number of venues which already exist, some constructed for the 1984 Olympics, others current or future sports stadiums for professional teams.  The athletes’ village would be located at UCLA (the site implies these are just existing dormitories not otherwise in use, but doesn’t explicitly state that).  Sounds economical, almost reasonable, right?

But the costs are still staggering:  of the total $6.2 billion in costs (much of which seems to be insanely-high operating costs of one sort or another), $1.4 billion is labelled as “venue infrastructure” — and costs being shouldered by others (e.g., the new Rams stadium) aren’t even included.  How this breaks down isn’t specified — does this include new mass transit lines?  “Temporary” stadiums?  Million-dollar giant Olympic rings to re-brand existing venues?

Hence, my label of this post as a “placeholder” because I don’t have the time right now to dig further into whether this is a too-good-to-be-true well-run, non-corrupt games without the ballooning cost that has become the norm.  If these early news reports result in more follow-ups and analysis, I’ll share these — and, readers, please feel free to add what you know in the comments.

 

Image: Opening Ceremony in Athens, 2004.  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AOlympic_flame_at_opening_ceremony.jpg; By I, Alterego, took this photo and release under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

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