With Rio in the books and Tokyo ramping up for 2020, the focus will shift to where the 2024 Games will be awarded. In this country, Los Angeles is a ready-made finalist. Will the safe pick (a city with two Olympics under its belt) seem boring, or will the International Olympic Committee see it as the smart choice?
As Connect Sports has been busy reporting for our Olympic Issue, it’s become clear why the games are a once-every-four-years event. For the athletes, training and fundraising are grueling. But hosting the Olympics may be more daunting. Cities are at the mercy of everything from the weather (poor Vancouver didn’t get any snow in 2010) to threats, both manmade (Munich 1972) and natural (Zika this year).
Considering all of the potential problems, it’s a wonder any destination bids for the Olympics. Indeed, it’s not for every city. Boston perhaps wisely bowed out of the 2024 running before it got too deep into another Big Dig. Hamburg, Germany, also passed on the chance while a deep debate rages in Rome. Atlanta, which put on an unqualified success 20 years ago , wants no part of another Olympics.
Perhaps that’s why Derek Parra, sports director at the Utah Olympic Oval, and USA Gymnastics COO Ron Galimore suggest rotating the Olympics among cities that have demonstrated they are up to the task, such as L.A.
We know sports tourism is big business. One theme you hear from planners and DMOs alike is an event and a city have to be a good match. Event professionals like you at Connect Sports Marketplace make a living finding the right fit. To maintain the Olympic spirit going forward, it may be wise to focus on where the world’s biggest sporting event can shine the brightest.
The Olympic movement can continue to thrive, but the IOC must be realistic about today’s challenges. Will Los Angeles benefit from a dose of reality? We’ll know sometime next year.