LA bidding for 2024 Olympics? by Elliott Denman, note by Larry Eder

Starting Blocks, photo by

Elliott Denman texted me about noon on Friday, noting that the USOC had a big announcement. We asked him to cover it for us. Here is his column on Los Angeles getting into the 2024 Olympic host bidding race...


NEW YORK - A third Los Angeles Olympic Games?

In the summer of 2024?

Another Games in La-La Land? 

Well, "why not?" ask members of the U.S. Olympic Committee Board of Directors.

That was one of the key communiques emerging from the Friday, March 8, gathering of the
USOC's top brass at the Deloitte Global Office in The Big Apple.

"We're delighted that LA has expressed an interest," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said. "Obviously LA can handle the Games; they've done a great job in the past."

The three-peating precedent has already been set - with London's ultra-successful staging of its own third Games.

London 2012 will go down as one of the greatest - if not the greatest - Olympics ever held - surpassing Beijing 2008 in the eyes of many, after the Chinese capital seemed to have outdone Sydney 2000.

Too, the British capital - all these years later - is praised for stepping into the breach to stage the 1948 Games while still in recovery stage from the bombings and deprivations of World War II.

London's 1908 Games? Well, they were still rife with ages-old animosities and yet remembered for such episodes as (a) Dorando Peitri's marathon disqualification - the gold going to America's Johnny Hayes after Pietri was assisted over the finish line in this first race ever run over the 26-mile, 385-yard distance, and (b) Brit Wyndham Halswelle's 400-meter solo-running "walkover" win over Americans still protesting earlier events.

Yet London only won its 2012 bid by the narrowest of margins over Paris in the still-controversy-marred 2005 International Olympic Committee vote. Had that vote gone in a Parisian direction, the French capital, previous Olympic host in 1900 and 1924, would have beaten London to the honor of being the first host three-peater.

Even with history on its side - LA's 1984 Games, staged in the face of a Soviet Union-led boycott - got high marks, and the 1932 Games were generally successful before global air-travel advances, amid a world scenario beginning to totter into depression and, soon after, the horrors of a second World War.

Fresh on many USOC-ers memories, of course, are the rejection of the last two American Olympic bids - New York's 2005 effort to secure the 2012 Games, and Chicago's 2009 attempt to win the 2016 Games (now set for Rio de Janeiro.)

These NYC and Chicago bids were deemed ultra-worthy in the view of many, yet never came close to success - virtually "blown out of the water."

So why would another American city want to travel that frustrating route again?

One most important reason - highest-level financial considerations are out of the equation; now that the USOC has agreed to accept a lesser share of Olympic revenues. Yes, the door has been reopened to an American Olympic bid.

While Los Angeles may be the most logical American bidder for the 2024 Games, it's no lock on securing the USOC's endorsement.

"We've gotten a handful of really positive responses and a handful of, 'Gee thanks for asking, but this isn't the right fit for us,' " Blackmun said.

Other USA cities reportedly giving the 2024 bid process some serious consideration include
Dallas, Baltimore-Washington and, interestingly, Tulsa.

On the much longer-shot list are San Diego, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Boston, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Saint Louis, Seattle, Portland and Miami.

And there's even been mention of 1996 host Atlanta (again), Memphis, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Sacramento, Charlotte, Phoenix, Columbus, Nashville, Rochester and Indianapolis. 

How about the once-rejected NYC and Chicago? Basically, "fuhgeddaboutit."

Globally, with the IOC's 2020 Games decision coming soon - who will it be, Istanbul, Turkey or Madrid? - at the historic 125th IOC session slated for Buenos Aires on Sept. 7th - the two losers out of that decision are likely to re-enter the fray as candidates for the 2024 Games.

But already on that list - beyond a possible American bidder - are such as Toronto (which will stage the Commonwealth Games in the summer of 2014); Paris, Doha, Dubai, Baku, Durban, Nairobi, Saint Petersburg, Brisbane, Berlin, Budapest, Guadalajara, Kuala Lumpur, Casablanca and Lisbon.

Logic would think the IOC would soon like to stage its first Games on the African continent - meaning potential bids of Durban and Nairobi would earn extra consideration.

All this, of course, remains utter speculation at this point, time for the wildest-guessers to step forward.

So wild, actually, that you'd be hard-pressed to find a Las Vegas sports book ready to take your action.

Then again, the pounds are flying in profusion over the counters of British betting shops
on business of the IOC 2020 decision, still five months away.
Tokyo (1964 Olympic site) is installed as the general choice to re-win the Games,

Among leading bookmaker quotes:

The Coral Co.: Tokyo 6/5, Madrid 15/8, Istanbul 9/4.

Said Coral spokesman Gary Burton: "It's the closest contest ever in terms of the betting and although Tokyo lead the way in the Olympic committee's scoring, it is only marginal and any one of the three could still win it."

The William Hill Co.: Tokyo 11/10, Madrid 7/4, Istanbul 11/4.

Said William Hill's Rupert Adams: "You can make a good case for all three of the short-listed cities but Tokyo ticks every box and we think they are the front-runners."

Ladbroke's: Tokyo 4/6. Madrid and Istanbul 3/1.

Said Jessica Bridge of Ladbroke's: "Tokyo might have failed in their bid to host in 2016 but they're looking like a dead cert for 2020."

Bottom line: Stay tuned, Olympic fans.

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