The Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid organizers and other officials are divided on whether President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration will affect the city’s bid to host the games.
Some are concerned Los Angeles may not be able to beat out Paris or Budapest, Hungary, for hosting rights because the order has made the international community uneasy about traveling to the United States, said Zev Yaroslavsky, director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the Luskin School of Public Affairs. Yaroslavsky served on the city council for 40 years and was a part of the negotiations during the 1984 Olympics.
Yaroslavsky said he thinks part of the uncertainty surrounding the bid comes from the spontaneity of White House actions.
“The Trump administration’s immigration edict will not make the Los Angeles Olympic bid any easier; in fact, it’ll make it more difficult,” Yaroslavsky said. “Who knows what’s going to come out of Washington in the next eight days, let alone eight months.”
LA 2024 organizers, however, said they are confident the ban will have no effect on Los Angeles’ bid.
“We believe now more than ever that ultimately we will be judged on the merits of our bid, not on politics, because the (International Olympic Committee) has always acted in the interest of sport above politics,” said Casey Wasserman, chairman of the LA 2024 bid committee. “We have no doubt that the same will continue in this process.”
The United States Olympic Committee released a statement Jan. 30 in reassurance that athletes from all countries, including the seven affected by the travel ban, would receive expedited clearance for entry into the U.S.
LA 2024 CEO Gene Sykes said the committee is communicating with the White House about the travel restrictions.
“When the travel ban on immigration on visitors from certain countries was announced … we immediately got in touch with senior people in the White House, and their first response was, ‘We want to help you,’” Sykes said.
Yaroslavsky said the status of the bid should not affect infrastructure projects currently underway in the city, including the extension of the Purple Line subway to Westwood.
“If they could finish it by 2024 with the Olympics, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t finish it by 2024 without the Olympics,” Yaroslavsky said.
LA 2024 is in the third and final stage of the candidature process and can now lobby IOC delegates for a vote, Yaroslavsky said. UCLA is set to host three events and the Olympic Village if Los Angeles secures the bid, according to the most recent plan.
The IOC will make a final decision for host city Sept. 13 in Lima, Peru.