LA 2024: Building on the Best of Rio 2016

By Casey Wasserman, LA 2024 Chairman

One year from today, the International Olympic Committee will elect the Host City of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Lima, Peru. Since we launched our LA 2024 Olympic bid last September, our team has listened and learned from Angelenos, US and International athletes and global sports leaders to understand what it takes to create a high tech, low risk and sustainable new Games for a new era.

For us, the highlight of the past year was attending the Rio 2016 Games. Having just returned from the Paralympics, I saw firsthand the true emotional power of what the Olympic Movement can do to bring people together, locally and globally, instead of separating us as different races, creeds and nationalities.

And that’s just what our country needs — a showcase of the values and benefits of looking outward, of engaging with the world, rather than looking inward.

We leave Rio even more convinced of LA 2024’s vision to “Follow the Sun,” which goes beyond LA’s famous sunshine, our youthful beach culture and our Olympic weather. To us, “Follow the Sun” is about our city’s unequaled focus on and belief in the future and reinvention. We are benefactors of the unshakable American optimism in what lies ahead, and of California’s unique ethos and approach to life.

Now, LA 2024 is ready to build on the best of Rio to help create a new Games for this new era: the new dawn of Olympic Agenda 2020.

Partnering with the Olympic Movement, LA can offer an innovative Games re-imagined for entertainment and sustainability, and an authentic connection to young people around the world using their own means and on their own terms. This sort of innovation and creativity is what our California companies do every single day, from Disney to Google to Snapchat.

The Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony at the iconic Maracana Stadium

Building upon the lessons and successes of Rio, LA 2024 will focus on four key areas in particular.
Sports Entertainment: Rio 2016 worked with international sports federations in a number of instances to create an excellent in-stadium and on-screen spectator experience. Rio has reinforced our work to bring the leading edge in field-of-play innovation, marketing, promotion and in-venue entertainment from American pro sports to the Games, ensuring athletes have the facilities they need to perform their best and inspire the world.
City as the Stage: Rio de Janeiro provided a spectacular backdrop for top-class sport, with breathtaking sites like Copacabana Beach and the lagoon — overlooked by Christ the Redeemer — inspiring athletes and captivating audiences. Just as Rio did, LA 2024 will integrate the city’s scenic coastline, diverse topography and iconic landmarks into the fabric of the Games and extend this athlete, fan and camera-friendly strategy.

A rendering of what the LA Memorial Colisuem, one of LA’s many existing venues, would look like in 2024.

Broadening Horizons: Rio 2016 was an Olympic Games of firsts, with two new sports, three countries winning their first ever Olympic medals and six more winning their first gold. LA’s diversity means every nation will have a home field advantage, and with an unprecedented array of top training facilities used by many 2016 Olympians from around the world, athletes from every nation will have their best chance to succeed. Our city’s wealth of existing sports venues means we can respond with flexibility to any changes in the Olympic program and, by harnessing California’s unique spirit of innovation and creativity, LA 2024 will be the perfect springboard for sports old and new to reach new audiences.
Public Mass Transit: Rio’s expanded mass transit system meant fans were able to experience everything that the great city has to offer, and LA will do the same. Famously, LA saw no traffic during the 1984 Olympics, and now we have a new, expanded mass transit system that will allow fans to experience a Games embracing the entire city and connecting the broadest range of communities. The city’s mass transit overhaul is already underway, regardless of the Games, recently opening a light rail line that can take fans from Santa Monica beach to the Coliseum in 30 minutes. And our capacity to deliver this city-wide celebration will not be held captive by workforce disputes. LA 2024 works harmoniously with our city’s workforce and has given labor a prominent voice with three of the nation’s top union leaders on our board, representing hundreds of thousands of workers in key sectors like transport, hospitality and construction.

Besides these specific areas, our biggest takeaway from Rio 2016 is to focus on cost containment, enhancing operational certainty and mitigating risk. LA 2024 is tailor made for this new emphasis and strategy. We only have to build one new venue to host the Games; you read that right, only one new venue. This means that if elected, LA 2024 and the Olympic Movement can spend seven years working together, focusing on innovation and the kind of ‘last mile’ preparations that elevate the Games-time experience for every single stakeholder.

Unlike previous Games, our infrastructure is already in the ground, not on the drawing boards. Our plan is prudent, sustainable and achievable. Our city truly wants the 2024 Games as evidenced by an unprecedented 88% support for our bid. And most importantly in this age of uncertainty, our management team has the right balance of world-class, experienced, business professionals and global sports expertise to carefully manage and deliver this $5 billion start-up business in just seven short years. And no one does startups better than California.

Rio 2016 was an amazing experience full of wonder that surpassed all expectations. Our goal at LA 2024 is to raise the bar even higher, and to deliver to the Olympic Movement a magical, modern Games that sets new benchmarks for the future with no risk, no worry and no surprises. It is going to be a fantastic year as we Follow the Sun to progress.

Los Angeles Mayor Mayor Eric Garcetti (left), LA 2024 Vice Chair and Olympian Janet Evans (center), and LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman (right) take in the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony
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