Thousands of bookworms, Olympic enthusiasts, sports fans and curious festivalgoers alike experienced the power of Los Angeles’ Olympic spirit and heritage on Saturday and Sunday, as the LA84 Foundation and the LA 2024 Olympic bid co-hosted a booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. The booth featured 11 authors, six of them Olympians, who signed their sport-related books at the 22nd rendition of the annual festival, which drew over 150,000 attendees on the USC campus.
Among the authors present were U.S. women’s national soccer team legend and three-time Olympic gold medalist Julie Foudy, who signed copies of her brand-new book, “Choose to Matter: Being Courageously and Fabulously YOU,” and Donna de Varona, Olympian, longtime sports broadcaster, and co-author of “More Than a Game: One Woman’s Fight for Gender Equity in sport.”
Many of the featured books at the booth were written with assistance from LA84’s extensive sports library, while part of LA84’s premier Olympic archives and memorabilia collection, including torches and medals from nearly every modern Olympic Games, was on display. Many in the crowd took home Olympic-themed items of their own, ranging from 1984 program guides to stuffed animals of Olympic mascots, from the booth’s popular prize wheel.
Attendees took the opportunity to learn about LA84’s continued impact in youth sports engagement, while also finding out more about LA 2024’s campaign to bring the Olympic Games back to Los Angeles for the first time in 40 years. Knowing the indelible impact tens of thousands of 1984 volunteers made in a successful Games, LA 2024 continued to share information about their volunteer program, which is currently hosting events with attendees gaining priority for volunteering should the Games return to Los Angeles.
Among Olympians authors present were 5-time swimming medalist John Naber, 1956 discus throw gold medalist Olga Connolly, 8-time swimming medalist Shirley Babashoff, and two-time swimming medalist Jessica Hardy Meichtry. An all-star lineup of sports-related authors also including skateboarding pioneer Cindy Whitehead, Molly Schiot, George Hirthler, David Davis and Chris Epting.
Los Angeles prides itself as being the world’s premier Olympic City, a sentiment reflected over the weekend by a contingent of Olympians also visited the booth to show support for literature and their fellow Olympic family members. Olympians Haley Anderson, Joe Bottom, Egerton Forster, Lovie Jung, Michael Lenard, Ramona Pagel, Samantha Peszek and Rebecca Soni all stopped by to show support for the Olympic Movement, especially as LA 2024 ramps up for the September 2017 decision on which city, between Los Angeles and Paris, will win its bid to host the 2024 Games.