By Shirley Ito
Janet Evans, LA 2028 Director of Athlete Relations and Four-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Swimming
Inspired by the 1984 Olympic Games
On September 13, 2017, Los Angeles was awarded the 2028 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The Games will be LA’s first since 1984, and will create a new Games for a new generation of young Angelenos. The Games in 1984 were an unprecedented financial success, netting a surplus of $232.5 million, 40 percent of which established the LA84 Foundation. The Games also captured the hearts and minds of Angelenos, inspiring millions, including a young swimmer named Janet Evans.
Evans kicked off the first keynote address of the Summit by reflecting on how the 1984 Olympic Games inspired her as a young person and athlete in the stands watching athletes compete in the 1984 Games. She has “always admired the LA84 Foundation and the work that [LA84 President & CEO] Renata [Simril] and her team do every day here in our city. Their work is truly nothing short of amazing.”
Evans also noted how the legacy of the 1984 Games directly impacted the 2028 bidding process. “We at LA 2028 certainly and without a doubt stand on the shoulders of the amazing success and legacy of the 1984 Olympic Games,” she said. “The 1984 Olympics were an inspiration and continue to be an inspiration to us all and we hear about it from so many people. They want to Games to come home because they remember the Games from 1984.” As she and the LA 2028 look ahead to the next 11 years, Evans was sure to mention how the sustainability of the Games is crucial in transforming Los Angeles and its communities before, during, and after such a monumental event.
“LA 2028 will be a new Games for a new era, but back to the future just like in 1984.”
Visions Of A 12-Year-Old
Evans was 12 years old during the 1984 Games, and noted her two most memorable moments as a spectator were 1964 Olympic decathlon gold medalist and LA84 Foundation board member Rafer Johnson lighting the Olympic cauldron during the Opening Ceremony as well as Joan Benoit Samuelson running into the LA Memorial Coliseum to win the gold in the first-ever women’s Olympic marathon.
An Immediate Legacy
Evans was asked by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LA 2028 chair Casey Wasserman to join the bid team in 2015, during the initial stages of the bid.
When using three words to describe the LA 2024 bid, which later turned into LA 2028, Evans listed the bid as bold, mind-blowing and cool. “We’re not changing our city to fit the Games, but creating a Games that fits the needs of a city and its communities,” she added while noting how California is home to companies on the forefront of technological innovation and creativity.
A major part of LA 2028: creating a youth sports legacy in Los Angeles, starting today. LA 2028 will receive $160 million in advanced funding to be allocated toward youth sports programs in LA over the next 11 years, in addition to $2 billion in IOC contributions and 80 percent of any Games surplus. The end goal? Making sure every kid can play sports as well as “making LA the healthiest city in America.”
“Every child should have access [to sport],” she added. “Every child should learn how to swim. Every child should have access to a pool, a ball or a sports field. It’s very personal to me.”
Learn more about LA 2028 here.