Alan Abrahamson, the Los Angeles journalist who covers Olympics politics and sports at his 3WireSports website, has an interesting new post up. He reports that the U.S. Olympic Committee is pondering — and he opines that they should do it — the removal of Boston as the U.S. candidate to win the 2024 summer games. Apparently things are not going well with the Boston candidacy. It's unpopular in the city and there are other issues. Once Boston gets yanked, Abrahamson writes, there is a growing sense in Olympic circles that Los Angeles would be the best chance for the U.S. to get the games. LA has done it before, of course — in 1932 and 1984 — and there is local support for the Olympics to return. And also: it's LA.
You know what they know how to do in Los Angeles?
Tell stories. In film and in our increasingly digital world.
You know what wins Olympic bids?
Story-telling. And humility. Which the USOC, the embodiment of the American medal machine, could use a dose of — if it manages this turn-around the right way, which actually could and should be super-easy.
Just come right out and say, we made a mistake.
For the sake of clarity:
San Francisco and Washington, the other two 2024 finalists, offered some upsides. But neither, to stress, emerged as a plausible IOC candidate. San Francisco, for all its beauty, can hardly get artificial turf put down in a local park; imagine trying to prepare for, and put on, 28 simultaneous world championships, which is what a Summer Games involves. DC, to many overseas, represents the seat of American imperialism; meanwhile, the very last thing the USOC needs is the oversight of 535 self-appointed mayors, meaning the various members of Congress, casting an eye on seven years of preparations.
So it was Boston or Los Angeles.
Abrahamson also notes there is a general concern at the international level about coming back to a United States for a couple of reasons. Encouraging angry white racists (my spin) to carry guns is not a popular part of the American culture among potential visitors.
This despite the FIFA indictments brought by the U.S. Department of Justice — which, truth be told, have caused U.S. interests and in particular the USOC real damage in sports politics, the measure of which remains to be calculated.
The challenges any American bid faces ought not to be understated. One member, reflecting on the imminent signing of a Texas law allowing the open carrying of handguns in public and of concealed handguns on state university campuses — the governor would sign it last weekend — said that measure alone ought to spell the end of the Boston bid. Or, for that matter, Los Angeles, if it came to that.
Who, the member asked, could reliably trust the safety of one’s university-age children in a country with such a law?
For Americans, who understand the differences, geographical and cultural, between Texas and the two coasts, such a rhetorical question might seem — unusual. This, though, is the way it is.