RIO DE JANEIRO – The Los Angeles 2024 Summer Olympics bid appears too good to be true, which is pretty much the point.
It’s a city that has vowed to eliminate the corruption inherent in Olympic construction projects by having all but one of the necessary venues already built – according to the bid, they would just need a canoe and kayak site.
It’s a city that can offer up UCLA for athletes’ housing and a multicultural fan base that would populate events.
It’s a city that claims its major shortcoming – its traffic snarl – will be remedied through dedicated lanes and multiple mass transit projects that including rail access to LAX.
It’s a city that, brazenly, claims it’ll produce a profitable Olympics at a time when other major cities are sprinting from the bid process because of the threat of boondoggles. The 1984 Games turned a $97 million profit. “We’re very confident in our plan that reduces risk for our city and can turn a profit for the city,” said. Los Angeles bid chairman Casey Wasserman
“Our Olympic infrastructure is already in the ground, not on the drawing boards. We are virtually risk-free because we only have to build one venue to host the Games,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.
By the time the Los Angeles bid presentation was over, you almost wondered why the city hasn’t hosted the Games since 1984 and why they don’t host them every Olympiad going forward. “The Games are in our blood,” said Garcetti. “We love sports. We have great weather,”
What some in the IOC are wondering about, according to the mayor, isn’t the actual climate but the political one in the U.S.
Garcetti said last week that should Donald Trump win the presidency, it would harm the U.S. bid to host the Olympics.
“I think for some of the IOC members they would say, ‘Wait a second, can we go to a country like that, where we’ve heard things that we take offense to?” Garcetti said, via the LA Times. “But I think that gives us even more urgency globally, where we can say, ‘This is something that is a different strength maybe than the things that you’ve heard or the things you believe.’ I think we continue no matter what the outcome of the election is.”
He was asked about those comments on Tuesday in Rio, and responded quite ironically with a #ManyAreSaying clarification. “I was asked the question, and I was just relating what I heard from IOC members. Not necessarily a personal opinion,” he said.
Garcetti reiterated that the LA bid shouldn’t be affected by whoever wins the fall’s election between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“We’re not depending on any candidate that’s elected, whether it’s President Trump or President Clinton. We felt strong about our bid. I did hear that some of the IOC members brought that up and for those who are concerned … it’s not unique to the United States. There are forces in other elections around the world, in countries around the world, that pull countries inward. Olympics open countries up, and American needs that more than ever right now,” he said.
“Win or lose in this campaign. It’ll have a positive impact, and I said that to IOC members. We’re not some cocky bid saying everything’s done and we’re going to turn a profit. I wouldn’t pursue this if I didn’t think it would have a positive effect on us.”
The IOC would select the 2024 host city in Sept. 2017, a.k.a. the first year of Trump’s first term. Los Angeles is facing competition from Budapest, Paris and Rome.
Garcetti did declare there was one benefit to a Trump presidency for the Summer Games.
“I think golf would stay in the Olympics if he were elected,” he said.
Listen to Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski podcast from Rio on GRANDSTANDING, featuring beach volleyball’s April Ross: