LA 2024 praises OCA's innovative approach for greater NOC inclusion at Asian Winter Games

For immediate release

February 20, 2017

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LA 2024 praises OCA’s innovative approach for greater NOC inclusion at Asian Winter Games

LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman and United States Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst have arrived in Sapporo full of praise for the innovative way that the Olympic Council Asia is increasing National Olympic Committees participation in the 2017 Asian Winter Games.

The Asian Winter Games are taking place between 19 and 26 February and for the first time ever, guest athletes from Australia and New Zealand will compete in individual sports alongside 29 Asian NOCs.

Commenting on this new initiative, LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said: "The Opening Ceremony yesterday was fantastic – it is always great to see so many athletes from such a diverse range of nations come together to celebrate sport. But it was very special to see athletes from Asia and Oceania walking out together in solidarity. This is precisely the type of inclusion and unity that we celebrate in Los Angeles and Southern California and that we will promote should LA have the honor of hosting the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games."

Wasserman and Probst are particularly interested in the OCA initiative as LA 2024 is committed to ensuring more nations win medals at the 2024 Games than at any previous Games. LA 2024 seeks to continue the progress made at Rio 2016, where a record 205 NOCs participated and eighty-seven different countries won medals. This included the participation of two new NOCs, ten delegations winning their first Olympic gold medal and first-time medals at the Games for Fiji, Kosovo, and Jordan.

To support this goal, LA 2024 has budgeted a stipend to assist NOCs in both their "Road to Tokyo 2020" and "Road to LA 2024" preparations. They plan to coordinate training opportunities for NOCs and NPCs and their athletes at the many high-performance sports training facilities in Southern California and the western United States.

Wasserman also praised the Sapporo 2017 Organizing Committee: "The Organizing Committee have clearly done an excellent job in preparing for these Games and I would like to congratulate them. It looks set to be an exciting week of winter sports action and I wish everyone involved the very best of luck."

The participation of athletes from the Oceania National Olympic Committees member associations will fuel the growth of winter sports in both Oceania and Asia and strengthen the unity and solidarity of the Olympic Movement. The decision to expand the scope of the Games will provide the perfect stepping stone and preparation for athletes, coaches and team officials alike ahead of next year’s Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games.

Meanwhile LA welcomed their own set of international athletes this weekend, with the Air + Style event taking place at the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, LA 2024’s athletics stadium. The combination of an exhilarating snowboard competition with world renowned musicians, such as Flume and Major Lazer, demonstrates the city’s ability to host high-tech, dynamic and festival-style sports competitions that connect to a younger audience.

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