After Boston dropped its bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti quickly put out a statement expressing interest in the Games. Boston needs to be replaced as the American bid city for the games, and early speculation is that L.A. would be the replacement.
San Francisco could be in play too. The two big California cities competed for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s nod against Boston earlier this year and were finalists, along with Washington D.C., before Boston was the winner.
As readers here know, I’m a huge sports fan, but I’m decidedly not a fan of spending billions of dollars on pro sports teams and big sports events. But I have a soft spot for the Olympics – it has a meaning for the world that goes beyond dollars and cents. And the Olympics has been incredibly good to California and specifically Los Angeles. The 1932 and 1984 Games both continue to shape the city, mostly in positive ways. (I often drive home from work along Olympic Boulevard).
But I’m hoping that L.A. and San Francisco will resist the temptation to jump back in and try to secure the Games – at least this time. Why bail out the U.S. Olympic Committee after they embarrassed us by foolishly picking Boston – a city too small and small-minded to host an event like the Olympic – over our two world-class cities? And why rush a bid (which would have to be complete by September) that could diminish your chances of winning the Games?
Especially when there’s little chance that a U.S. city will win the 2024 Games. The Olympics have never gone more than two Olympiads in a row without putting a Games in Europe. 2016 will be in Brazil and 2020 in Japan, so the Olympics are due to go back to Europe in 2024. Paris, which has bid and narrowly lost in recent years, is pushing for the Games again. And 2024 will be the 100-year anniversary of the 1924 Games in Paris – those were famous Games, the Games that the Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire was about.
It would be better to hold off now, and push for a future Games. 2032 might be the ideal year for another Games in Los Angeles. It would be a nod to the century that has passed since the ’32 Games. With USC now invested in the Coliseum, which hosted the ’32 and ’84 Games, you could see the very same stadium bring the Games. And much of L.A.’s ongoing transformation in transportation should be complete by 2032—giving Southern California the chance to show off its new Metro rail system. Even airport service.
So bring back the Olympics to California. But be patient.