The Summer Olympic Games have not been in the United States for 20 years, but the LA 2024 Olympic Bid Committee is attempting to reset that streak. The bid is currently competing against two European cities, Budapest and Paris. At the 2016 LA84 Summit, two senior bid committee leaders discussed the bid as well as its potential impact on the youth sports environment in Southern California and the United States at large. See the full video of the panel below.
The Impact of the Olympics on Youth Sports: LA84 + LA24 = Legacy2 Panelists
Janet Evans, Olympian & Vice Chair & Director of Athlete Relations, LA 2024 Bid Committee
Casey Wasserman, Chairman, LA 2024 Bid Committee, Chairman & CEO, Wasserman Media Group
Interviewer: Alan Abrahamson, Lecturer, Journalism, USC Annenberg
Los Angeles as the Olympic City
For the panel, a major selling point of LA 2024 is how it focused on embracing the Olympic ideals, values and history. The bid’s logo is an angel, reflecting not only that each Olympic medal has an angel figure that they believe represents athleticism and aspiration, but that Los Angeles is nicknamed “The City of Angels.”
“The LA84 Foundation is the greatest living legacy of the Olympic Games,” said Wasserman. “The people in LA are not afraid, but actually embrace the idea of hosting another Olympic Games,” he added, noting that the cost of hosting a Games is often a deterrent for bid cities.
Finally, the panel noted how the volunteerism Los Angeles showed in the 1984 Games lives on and will be a major boon to the 2024 bid. “There is incredible heartbeat and drumbeat of volunteers who were connected 32 years ago,” Wasserman said. “We think 2024 can do that again on a whole other level.”
From One Generation to the Next
For the pair, a huge factor for LA 2024 is its low projected costs and how that will affect its overall impact. With the money Los Angeles will save by not having to build a multiple of venues and set up Olympic infrastructure, due to already existing stadiums, more of the budget of a potential Games will go toward supporting youth engagement in the Games and promoting the Olympic ideals across the region. “LA84 has guided LA 2024 on youth sports by being the organization that has an impact on the lives of many young people in Southern California,” Evans said.
For high-schoolers, the bid is working with the Ready. Set. Gold! program, headed by four-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer John Naber to match Olympians and Paralympians with LAUSD schools. The program aims to promote the values of sport, fitness and the Olympic Games.
Additionally, LA 2024 is also valuing social media as a way to engage young fans. “We want members who all engaged us on the social media networks to understand what we’re doing to impart change within our own society on the athletic side,” mentioned Evans.
A third selling point to Wasserman and Evans was how Los Angeles is on the cutting edge of technology and development as a worldwide city. “Los Angeles is a new, modern city that’s about what’s next,” Wasserman said. “We’ve got a foundation of support and we’ve got a foundation of facilities that allow us to spend our time not worrying about building buildings and delivery, but a about executing and the experience, and our legacy, we believe in 2024 starts the day we win the bid.”
See more from the Summit and the latest from LA84 here.