Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said all the right things during the kickoff press conference to the U.S. Olympic Trials marathon. But in his mind, this weekend means a lot more than just hosting a high-profile marathon.
Garcetti thinks a smooth weekend with the Trials on Saturday and the Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday could be further proof that the City of Angels is ready for the Olympics again.
“We think we can show off L.A.,” Garcetti said. “We’ve got two back-to-back races, one that has to do with the Olympics and the other a world-class marathon. And then we have the Grammys a night later. It just shows that L.A. is the best stage anywhere on the face of the Earth.”
Los Angeles is currently bidding for the 2024 Olympics, after Boston withdrew their bid from consideration last year. Los Angeles’ bid became official long after the 2016 Olympic Trials committed to the city, but a flawlessly run Trials could just be one more piece of favorable evidence.
Certainly, few cities in the United States can make a stronger case than Los Angeles in terms of facilities. The 1984 Olympics in L.A. were considered a success because the sprawling metropolis already had many existing venues for use, cutting costs and in the end making the Games a profitable venture for the city.
What would be 40 years later in 2024, the same perk of existing venues can be a persuasive point—even if the venues are new or completely upgraded.
While the marathon doesn’t have high demands facility-wise, other venues in Los Angeles could step up for different sports. The Los Angeles Coliseum—where Joan Benoit Samuelson famously wrapped up her gold medal in the marathon in 1984—could be renovated before 2019 as part of a $270 million project proposed by USC.
In addition, the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams will build a new stadium that could be used, as well as existing venues like the StubHub Center in Carson, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the Staples Center just steps from the Olympic Trials start/finish area, and venues on the campus of USC and UCLA.
“Eighty-five percent of our venues are already built or are going to be built regardless if we get the Olympics,” Garcetti said.
Garcetti said he will be at the Trials on Saturday—both as a Los Angeles sports fan and a visionary to what his city can do with an even bigger sports stage eight years from now.
“L.A. knows how to get this done. A lot of cities can’t pull that off logistically,” Garcetti said. “This is a sports town. We have great fans, we embrace sports, many athletes live here and logistically we know how to do this.”
The International Olympic Committee will make their decision on the 2024 host city in September 2017. Other cities interested include Rome, Paris and Budapest.