L.A., Paris submit bids for 2024 Olympics

Associated Press

Los Angeles — With 97 percent of the venues in existence or already planned by private investors, organizers of Los Angeles’ bid for the 2024 Olympics are promising a prudent and responsible approach to running the games that would be entirely privately financed.

Leaders of the Paris bid also emphasized existing infrastructure. They said it is at the heart of the project, and they can promise limited spending and long-lasting benefits if the French capital is chosen to host the games.

At a presentation Wednesday at Paris’ Philarmony concert hall attended by Prime Minister Manuel Valls and more than 300 athletes, Paris officials said they could offer a “new era” for the Olympics with a plan that involves 95 percent existing or temporary venues.

Rome promised a cycling sprint alongside the Roman Forum. Beach volleyball at the Circus Maximus. The marathon passing through St. Peter’s Square and finishing under the Arch of Constantine. A nightly parade of athletes at the Colosseum.

Rome’s historic monuments are at the center of the city’s bid. Budapest, Hungary, also submitted a bid.

Also on Wednesday, LA24 officials released a 64-page report submitted to the International Olympic Committee detailing their vision and concept for bringing the Olympics back to Los Angeles for a third time.

“That is the definition of sustainability in terms of legacy and cost,” said Casey Wasserman, chairman of LA24. “There’s no risk involved with venues or facilities.”

Organizers said that within three weeks of launching their bid last September, they secured $35 million in cash commitments from private donors.

The committee is emphasizing Los Angeles won’t require any extra infrastructure beyond what is already planned for the vast, traffic-choked region over the coming years, including $300 billion in transportation upgrades.

Part of that is an expansion of several rail lines and the first direct transit link to the city’s main airport, which is currently undergoing a $14 billion modernization.

The bid mentions embracing new technology for ridesharing and parking, including an autonomous vehicle pilot program. Organizers want the “first energy positive” Olympics, including using solar power.

“We’re going to come up with some things that will really help the games get to the next stage,” bid CEO Gene Sykes said on a conference call.

“It’s nothing but strong encouragement right now,” U.S. Olympic Committee chairman Scott Blackmun said of initial reaction to the U.S. bid.

Organizers said they would work with the owner of the new NFL stadium being built in Inglewood to explore opportunities for its use in the games.

“The most expensive and technologically advanced stadium will certainly be a key part of our plans going forward,” Wasserman said.

In Paris, the Stade de France, a new cycling track on the outskirts of Paris, the Roland Garros tennis stadium and many Parisian landmarks including the Grand Palais and Champ de Mars will be used if the city gets the games.

More than 70 percent of the venues are existing facilities, with a further 25 percent being temporary structures.

The main construction requirements for the bid include an aquatics center close to the Stade de France, a new indoor arena in the southern Bercy neighborhood, the Olympic village and media center.

Paris hosted the Olympics in 1900 and 1924.

In Laussane, Switzerland, IOC praised the four cities for relying heavily on existing and temporary facilities to cut costs and avoid white elephants.

The IOC will announce the winner in September 2017.