It’s now all but official that Los Angeles will get the Olympic Games, all but definitely in 2028.
The less than 100 percent certainty of this is one reason Tuesday’s news brought no wild celebration in the L.A. area. Another reason is that unlike a lot of cities that have received the nod to host an Olympics over the decades, L.A. has done it before and isn’t desperate to do it again. Which, as we’ve said previously in this space, is a very appealing feature of L.A.’s bid.
The news Tuesday was that the International Olympic Committee, meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, voted unanimously to go ahead with the unusual move of simultaneously naming host cities for both the 2024 and 2028 Games. The host site(s) selection isn’t scheduled to take place until Sept. 13 in Lima, Peru. But since Paris and L.A. are the only cities still vying for hosting duties, it’s clear that they’ll be the ones.
Because Paris wants to host on the 100th anniversary of the 1924 Paris Games and L.A. bid chairman Casey Wasserman and Mayor Eric Garcetti have sounded more flexible, it’s likely L.A. would get 2028.
There is another, slightly different possibility: If the IOC, Paris and L.A. can’t reach an agreement on how this will work, then the IOC could just award the 2024 Games in September and the 2028 Games at a later date.
The bottom line is that L.A. doesn’t have to do any of this. Its negotiators have the leverage they need to strike a good bargain for L.A. and secure the “low-cost, low-risk” event they’ve been promising. Taxpayers should expect nothing less than an event for which, following the model of the 1984 L.A. Olympics, they bear none of the costs.
Part of Wasserman’s and Garcetti’s approach to wooing the IOC has been to present L.A. as a supporter of the Olympic movement, willing to step up now — when many big cities are reluctant — as it was in hosting the Depression-era Games of 1932 and the Cold War-tinged Games of ’84.
While it’s refreshing to hear this isn’t about L.A. (or America) first, bid leaders must remember their first responsibility is to Southern Californians’ wallets, safety and enjoyment. They have a lot of work to do between now and September to make this truly a victory for our region.
If it’s not a day to celebrate, it’s a day to plan to celebrate.