On the Scene: Los Angeles Brings Sunny Side to Olympic Bid

(ATR) Los Angeles goes first in the 2024 bid presentations in Lausanne. ATR's Mark Bisson reports.

(ATR) The LA bid team says its low-risk offer to stage the 2024 Olympics impressed IOC members.

"They felt our soul. We touched their hearts," LA mayor Eric Garcetti said of the bid’s connection with IOC members.

Despite a review of the IOC’s governance released yesterday which criticised its transparency, the two presentations from LA and Paris Olympic bids were closed off to media. There was no access to the room at the SwissTech Convention Center and no TV feed.

Under media restrictions and tight security due to the French president Emmanuel Macron’s participation for Paris, reporters had to wait for soundbites from bid leaders in a small mixed zone and the bid press conferences that followed. IOC members were only made available to media at the lunch break.

Garcetti and the LA bid team were positively glowing as they fielded questions at the press conference that followed the bid’s pitch to the IOC. It was made clear that LA would not answer questions posed about the double allocation of the 2024 and 2028 Olympics and the implications for the city’s Games ambitions.

"To be clear we are competing for 2024. If the rules change we are happy to answer these questions," Garcetti told reporters.

Only eight questions came from the IOC electorate following LA’s 45-minute bid presentation.

British IOC member Adam Pengilly asked "Are you for 2024 or 2028"?

"Make no mistake we are bidding for 24," Garcetti had responded.

Other questions were on legacy, visas to enter the U.S. and volunteerism.

IOC president Thomas Bach told the LA bid team "I can’t give you my real feelings [because of protocol] but great presentations and good luck following the sun."

Bidchair Casey Wasserman and United States Olympic Committee chair Larry Probst answered most of the IOC’s questions.

Garcetti’s comment to media summed up the city’s message to the IOC: "LA is ready. We have the infrastructure, love and vision to service the Olympic Movement and our city."

With Paris pushing hard in recent weeks for the 2024 Olympics, virtually dismissing any notion that it was interested in 2028, Garcetti insisted LA had matched the French capital’s determined stance.

"Have we made the case strong enough? Absolutely."

Garcetti said the "biggest thing" was waiting to see if the IOC Session overhauled the rules to approve a double award of the 2024 and 2028 Games in Lima. "If the rules change then we have big decisions to make."

He said that LA had proposed a new model for the Games "that fits the city rather than a city that fits the games", which he suggested the IOC might embrace in the future.

LA 2024 chair Wasserman laid out why Los Angeles was well placed to address the needs and priorities of the Olympic Movement.

"We’re offering a city ready to go. We’re offering a Games with no incremental costs," he had told IOC members.

"We’re offering a lasting definition of Olympic sustainability. LA 2024 is not about money, or ego, or American pride, or even winning or losing. It is about serving the Olympic Movement far beyond 2024 by partnering with you to create a new Games for a new era."

The LA bid’s speaker panel comprised the three US IOC Members, Anita DeFrantz, Angela Ruggiero and Larry Probst along with Garcetti, Wasserman, CEO Gene Sykes, Olympian Allyson Felix and Paralympian Candace Cable..

Reported in Lausanne by Mark Bissonand Brian Pinelli

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