L.A.'s 2016 Olympic bid

Curious about Los Angeles' chances to host the 2016 Olympics? I sure am, and so I turned to the source the Chicago Tribune's Phil Hersh, whose recent column revealed details of L.A.'s bid for the first time. (L.A. is competing against Chicago and San Francisco to get the nod of the United States Olympic Committee in 2007; the selected city will then compete against cities from around the world to get final approval from the International Olympic Committee.)

Hersh interviewed Barry Sanders, the chair of Southern California's bid committee (and executive counsel at Latham & Watkins, NOT the former Detroit Lions running back), and notes that the Coliseum will again be part of the mix (assuming that a track will be reinstalled).

Hersh also writes:

"The 2016 L.A. plan calls for one primary Olympic Village, on the campus of either USC or UCLA, rather than the two of 1984; venues in two counties rather than four; and many venues on or near the rail transit system built after 1984.

Soccer preliminaries will be the only events beyond Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Rowing and canoe-kayak, held 90 miles away at Lake Casitas in 1984, would take place at Long Beach in 2016. Bren Center at the UC Irvine campus, to be used for badminton, is 40 miles from downtown L.A. and is the most far-flung non-soccer venue in the current plan."

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"Many arenas built since 1984 figure prominently in the 2016 plan. They include the Staples Center (gymnastics) and Nokia Theater (weightlifting), both in downtown L.A.; Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim (basketball); the Galen Center at USC (boxing); the Pyramid at Long Beach State (team handball); and the Home Depot Center, 18 miles from downtown, which has the velodrome, a tennis center that can seat 13,000 and a 27,000-seat soccer stadium.

The swimming pools would be temporary facilities in Long Beach, similar to the arrangement at the 2004 Olympic trials. The diving pool is likely to be at a new, permanent UCLA aquatics facility.

All this, Sanders said, can be done for $150 million in permanent and temporary construction costs, less than one-fourth Chicago's projection."

Hersh concludes that L.A.'s past success at hosting the Olympics is a "mixed blessing." On the one hand, L.A. has proven it can do the job. Then again, the USOC may be reluctant to choose L.A. for the third time. Stay tuned.

September 6, 2006 10:56 AM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor
 

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