The leader of Los Angeles’s bid for the 2024 Olympics believes there is no chance the city’s quest to stage the games for a third time could falter through public scepticism following the abrupt withdrawal from the race of Hamburg.
LA24 chief executive Gene Sykes told AFP in an interview that polls had shown overwhelming public support for the city’s bid, which faces stiff competition from Paris, Budapest and Rome.
Hamburg’s bid ended last month after a referendum in the German city surprisingly voted 51.6 percent against staging the games, with respondents citing fears of terrorism, bankruptcy and sporting scandal.
Yet Sykes believes a mood of optimism is squarely behind the 2024 campaign, with many in the city still harboring fond memories of the successful 1984 Olympics.
“We have tremendous home support, the polls suggest over 80 percent public support,” Sykes told AFP. “I don’t think we have any negativity at all.
“We actually believe we can deliver the Olympics in a fiscally responsible way. It will not require an enormous amount of new buildings, we are ready to host the Olympics today, we have the capacity within ourself, we could have a more affordable Olympics.”
LA24 has said the Games could generate $4.8 billion, resulting in a profit of around $161 million.
– Security priority –
Sykes meanwhile said that security concerns raised by the recent bloody attacks by a Muslim husband and wife in San Bernardino near Los Angeles would not redefine the city’s bid, adding security challenges were shared across the Olympic movement.
“I do not think these challenges stand in the way of the Olympics. The challenges say ‘We need the Olympics more than ever’,” said Sykes, who has said security will be a “very high priority.”
The host of the 2024 Olympics will be chosen by the International Olympic Committee at a meeting in Peru in September 2017.
The United States last hosted a summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996.
Los Angeles will hope to impress voters with a bid that relies heavily on existing venues such as the downtown Staples Center, home of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, which would host gymnastics.
A revamped Los Angeles Coliseum — the main Olympic stadium used in the 1932 and 1984 Games — will be at the heart of the extravaganza.
The bid also outlines plans to incorporate famous Los Angeles city landmarks and attractions, such as mountain biking in the shadow of the Hollywood sign, beach volleyball on the golden sands of Santa Monica and Hollywood Boulevard hosting the marathon and road cycling.
“We will be a very competitive bidder but we have great competition, I respect the competition because they are all distinctive world class cities, I expect us to be different from the competition and very much our own, but the competition will be strong,” Sykes said.
“Paris is formidable, it’s a wonderful city, it’s a spectacular city, it will be a fantastic opponent, it will force us to be better.
“LA is the home of the Olympics, everyone is enthusiastic about hosting the Olympics here again. We had a great experience in 1932 and 1984, every single one of them has a great story to tell about these Olympics”. – Agence France-Presse