Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Twenty-one members of Southern California’s congressional delegation sent a letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee Wednesday urging the panel to “give full and fair consideration” to choosing Los Angeles as a bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

“Quite simply, Los Angeles is the American Olympic city,” according to the letter. “While other cities have hosted the Games in the United States, no other site can boast both the emblematic architecture and the site of Exposition Park and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and the unbelievable memories etched in the history of the Games, from the exploits of Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1932 to the 10.0 of Mary Lou Retton in 1984.”

The possibility of Los Angeles being offered as a host city re-emerged this week when Boston’s bid was withdrawn amid waning public support and the refusal of the city’s mayor to commit taxpayer money to possible cost overruns associated with the Games.

Mayor Eric Garcetti quickly said he would be willing to talk to the USOC about becoming the U.S. bidder to host the Games. Los Angeles was one of four finalists when Boston was chosen as the bidder earlier this year. San Francisco and Washington, D.C., were the other finalists.

Members of the Southland congressional delegation, led by Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Panorama City, wrote in the letter to the USOC that Los Angeles has twice proven its ability to host the Olympics, with the 1932 and 1984 Games the first to turn a profit for the host city. They also noted the continuing benefit of the Games, with millions of dollars distributed through the LA84 Foundation, which has managed and distributed excess funds from the 1984 Games.

“However, we do not rest on past exploits,” according to the letter. “Los Angeles is a growing city, strengthened by our diversity, welcoming the world and focused on becoming a sustainable metropolis. Our commitment to renewable energy is second to none, our internal transportation infrastructure is being modernized at a staggering clip and with the rededication of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, we remain the essential port of call for visitors to the United States.”

Other signatories on the letter were Xavier Becerra, Brad Sherman, Grace Napolitano, Ted Lieu, Norma Torres, Karen Bass, Janice Hahn, Alan Lowenthal, Linda Sanchez, Judy Chu, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Julia Brownley, Stephen Knight, Pete Aguilar, Mark Takano, Raul Ruiz, Loretta Sanchez, Lois Capps, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters.

Potential foreign bidders include Rome; Nairobi, Kenya; Casablanca, Morocco; Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa; Doha, Qatar; Melbourne, Australia; Paris; Hamburg, Germany; and St. Petersburg, Russia.

The United States did not make a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Tokyo in 2013. Los Angeles sought to be the U.S. candidate to host the 2016 Games but was beaten by Chicago, whose bid was ultimately rejected by the International Olympic Committee in favor of Rio de Janeiro.

Los Angeles was looking to join London as the only cities to host the Summer Olympics three times. Los Angeles was the site of the 1932 and 1984 Games.

The Summer Olympics were last held in the United States in 1996, when Atlanta was the site.

— City News Service 

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