In 1984, UCLA built a massive structure atop Drake Stadium to accommodate the Summer Olympics activities. Students and Westwood residents welcomed athletes from around the world, offering up the campus and neighborhood for the international event.
They very well could again in 2024.
Los Angeles and Paris are the two cities bidding to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. The International Olympic Committee published a report Wednesday evaluating the cities in preparation for its September vote between the two. The IOC will vote later this week on a proposal to offer the 2028 Olympics to whichever city does not win the 2024 bid.
Regardless of whether this proposal passes, it’s clear LA is the best choice for 2024. The city offers an economical yet lively venue for the games, and the IOC would be remiss to delay – or even reject – LA’s bid, especially after so much work has gone into preparation.
Of course, LA and Paris have both meticulously planned how to be welcoming and economically responsible hosts in 2024. The difference, however, is LA is farther along in terms of finances and infrastructure.
LA has a strong track record of successfully hosting the Olympic Games. It hosted the 1932 and 1984 games, both of which operated on tight budgets and are remembered as two of the greatest iterations of the games.
And the city is on track to make its mark on history again. Many of the stadiums and game fields are already built, giving the city time to focus on intricacies such as improving the athlete experience. Moreover, the 2024 bid has sped up long-delayed infrastructure fixes in the city, from the addition of the Metro Purple Line to new UCLA dormitories. All of these hinge upon LA winning the 2024 bid.
On the other hand, Paris has yet to finish construction of its nearly $1.8 billion Olympic Village. The city also doesn’t boast as much enthusiasm for the games as LA does: An IOC poll of citizens in both cities found 78 percent in support and 8 percent in opposition for hosting the games in LA, as opposed to 63 percent in support and 23 percent in opposition for hosting the games in Paris.
It’s not difficult to see why LA is the clear frontrunner for the 2024 Olympics.
Of course, it might seem that postponing an LA Olympics would allow the city more time to complete construction. However, that ignores the LA bid committee’s years of planning to ensure the city is as viable a venue as it was in 1984.
Not only that, but the committee has already negotiated several financial guarantees with the city and the state for a 2024 Olympics. Postponing the LA games would mean these already negotiated financial deals would have to be re-written, possibly on less favorable terms.
Recent Olympic games have often left cities in debt, and new stadiums are rendered useless after international attention has left the scene. But that won’t be the case with LA. Its bid relies on existing infrastructure and practical improvements that will help Angelenos far past 2024 without jeopardizing the city’s financial stability.
That’s a far better deal than the City of Love could ever offer.