Los Angeles is now one of just three cities on the planet that still thinks hosting the 2024 Olympic Games is actually a good idea.
With the news that Rome will drop their bid for the 2024 games, LA is now the likely favorite to beat out Paris and Budapest, Hungary, to host the summer Olympics in eight years. Officials in Rome said on Wednesday that, actually, going into debt to build a velodrome and a beach volleyball arena isn’t a great city planning idea.
Raggi said it would be financially “irresponsible” to pursue the bid any further given the city is barely able to get its trash picked up. She highlighted the debts that previous Olympic host cities have incurred and the unfinished infrastructure already blighting Rome from previous sporting bids as reasons to justify the withdrawal.
“In light of the data we have, these Olympics are not sustainable. They will bring only debt,” she said. “We don’t want sports to become another pretext for more cement foundations in the city. We won’t allow it.”
There’s pretty strong evidence that spending billions of dollars for just over a fortnight of sporting events is a bad deal for a city and its citizens. Just take a look at the calamity of errors in Brazil before and during this summer’s Rio Olympics. Add in all the flopping male genitals NBC viewers were exposed to over the fortnight-plus and I can see why Rome is reluctant to bring the Olympics back to the ancient city.
LA, however, remains unfazed by the challenges of hosting an Olympiad. The organizing committee’s slick website says the bid focuses on “sustainability and fiscal responsibility,” which sounds great in theory but promises are plentiful at this stage and results are rare. Greece is still dealing with the fallout of their financially disastrous decision to host the 2004 games in Athens. Bejing is hosting the Winter Games in 2022, but only after every other city but Almaty, Kazakstan, dropped out. Lately, getting to host the Olympics has felt more like a booby prize than a financial boon.
Still, the 1984 Games the city hosted have gone down as one of the most profitable and successful Olympiads in modern history. Somehow overcoming traffic concerns and dozens of other problems, the games made money and created lasting sports venues — not to mention some pretty slick design and aesthetic achievements. Many in Los Angeles think they can replicate that success 40 years later.