Los Angeles gets Olympics with an 11-year wait—and risks

2:43 pm | Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

Los Angeles Olympic Committee leader Casey Wasserman, from left, and City Council President Herb look on as L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during a press conference to make an announcement for the city to host the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games 2028, at Stubhub Center in Carson, outside of Los Angeles, Calif., Monday, July 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

LOS ANGELES — By 2028, a new stadium being built for the Rams and the Chargers will have been beaten up by nearly a decade of NFL games. The seemingly intractable problems of Southern California — traffic and homelessness — might get better or grow worse.

So much can change in 11 years.

Los Angeles’ decision to lock in an Olympic Games to far-off 2028 was praised by city leaders as a deal that offers hundreds of millions of dollars in future benefits. But the longest wait time for any Olympics in the U.S. also comes with the risks of the unknown.

“It’s a big chunk of time,” noted Jules Boykoff, a Pacific University professor who has written widely on the Olympics. “You just don’t know what’s going to come. The world presents surprises.”

History teaches that the economy swings up and down, sometimes with disastrous results. Political scientists foresee an era of continuing upheaval and unrest. Geologists say an inevitable big earthquake in quake-prone Southern California could damage venues envisioned as part of the Games.

Mayor Eric Garcetti shrugged off a question about the uncertainty.

“Los Angeles is resilient,” said the youthful-looking mayor, who will be granddad age, chasing 60, by the time of the Games.

“If the entire earth falls apart, probably the Olympics aren’t happening in Los Angeles. But short of that, we are going to have a great Games here in LA,” the mayor told reporters.

In embracing the 2028 date that is expected to be finalized later this year, city Olympic organizers ceded the 2024 Games to Paris, which both cities had craved.

But Garcetti and other supporters argued that the four-year delay was advantageous, giving the car-choked city more time to build rail lines. Additionally, the delay comes with financial sweeteners that, among other things, will pump millions of dollars into youth sports.

But time rushes on, and major changes are bound to happen.

Los Angeles County is home to 10 million people, and that population could increase by more than 500,000 by 2028, state demographers project. The cutting-edge technology in the new NFL stadium, now scheduled to open in 2020, will probably look like the forgotten Blackberry by 2028.

Many athletes in their prime today will be in the bleachers in a decade. And how can officials accurately estimate ticket prices and the revenue they will generate?

Events that happened 11 years ago can seem part of a faded, distant past. Facebook was a mere two years old. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was executed. Taylor Swift released her first album, and “Game of Thrones” was years into the future.

Consider the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The nearly century-old iconic structure — which would be used in an Olympics for a third time after the 1932 and 1984 Games — was constructed long before modern building codes. It was also severely damaged in a 1994 earthquake. The coliseum is currently undergoing an extensive makeover, but experts have warned it could still be vulnerable to shaking.

Estimates vary widely on what the federal government would need to spend on security for the two-week event, by some accounts $1 billion or more. It’s only a guess what the price tag will be in 2028, or the level of threat at that time.

Higher construction costs are likely, too. One example of the work that needs to be done: the Coliseum, a football stadium, would need to be converted into a venue for Olympic track events, then back again.

Over the years Olympics have been notorious for cost overruns, and studies have questioned if host cities benefit economically. Russia has struggled with costs from the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which have been called the most expensive Olympics of all time.

But Andrew Zimbalist, an economist at Smith College in Massachusetts, said LA was better positioned for a longer wait than other recent Olympic cities because its plan calls for no new major construction

“They will be able to run an operating surplus,” he predicted.

In the shorter term, the private committee behind the LA bid must retool its initial 2024 plans for four years in the future, including renegotiating contracts for housing athletes and temporary venues, which were all hooked to 2024.

Another hurdle: With the change in date, LA apparently needs to renegotiate and extend financial guarantees approved by the city and state to cover potential shortfalls connected with the 2024 bid. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that puts California taxpayers on the hook for up to $250 million if Los Angeles were awarded the 2024 Games and they ran over budget, and the city has promised the same.

Chicago-based sports-finance consultant Marc Ganis said the overall outcome was favorable for LA, given that Paris was in line for the 2024 Games. Additionally, financial sweeteners will help cover costs over the longer wait time.

Still, facilities age, technology advances and costs rise.

“There is always going to be financial risk,” Ganis said, “when you are targeting 11 years into the future.”


Tags: 2028 Summer Games , Los Angeles , Olympics

Related Stories:

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

Copyright 2012 INQUIRER.net. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate: c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94

PHOTOS & VIDEOS
Advertisement
POSCOUNTRYGOLDSILVERBRONZETOTAL
1United States462929104
2China38272388
3Great Britain29171965
4Russia24263282
5South Korea138728
6Germany11191444
7France11111234
8Italy891128
9Hungary84517
10Australia7161235

The largest delegation the Philippines has ever sent to the Games was 53 in the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The men's Philippine Basketball team is the first country to ever score 100 or more points in the 1948 Olympics after clobbering Iraq,102-30.

With only eight athletes in six sporting events for the London Games, this will be PH's smallest delegation since 1996.

The Philippines has only won medals in three events since joining the Olympics in 1924.

1972 was the last year the Philippine men's basketball team, which then paraded William 'Bogs' Adornado, Danny Florencio and Yoyong Martirez among others in its line up, has qualified for the Olympics.

The Philippines holds the record for winning the most medals without a gold haul with seven bronze and two silvers for a total of nine.

The Philippines has not won a medal since Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco settled for silver in boxing via a controversial decision during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

The Philippines last reached the final round swimming 80 years ago when Jikirum Adjaluddin and Teofilo Yldefonso ended up in the final six in the 1932 Los Angeles Games.

John Baylon, a nine-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, and Jerry Diño were the last Filipino Olympic qualifiers in the discipline Judo, having vied in the 1992 Barcelona Games.

The Philippines will shoot for its first gold medal in six of the following events in the 2012 London Olympics: Athletics, BMX, Boxing, Cycling, Shooting and Swimming.

Teofilo Yldefonso is the first Filipino to win a medal and the only one to take home multiple medals. He finished third both in the Men's 200 meter breastroke during the 1928 and 1932 Olympics.

Men's boxing has for medals in the Olympics with Anthony Villanueva, silver in the Featherweight Division of the 1964 Games in Tokyo; Leopoldo Serantes, third in 1988 Seoul; Roel Velasco, third in Barcelona; and his brother Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco, second in the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, though not competing, carries the Philippine flag at the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Philippines is the first country to compete and win an Olympic medal among Southeast Asian countries.

The Philippines participated in the Winter Olympics three times, in 1972 (Juan Cipriano and Ben Nanasca, alpine skiing), in 1988 (Raymund Ocampo, luge) and in 1992 (Michael Teruel, alpine skiing).

The Philippine basketball team wound up fifth place—best finish for an Asian country in the Olympics to date—in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the first time basketball was played as an Olympic sport.

The Philippines is the first nation in the tropics to ever participate in the Winter Olympic Games.

Harry Tañamor, the only Filipino predicted to win by the Sports Illustrated in its Olympic Preview edition, bows out in the first match up in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Mary Antoinette Rivero's tie for fifth place in Taekwondo is the closest any Filipino athlete came to a medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Arianne Cerdena won a gold in bowling at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but Cerdena's gold was not included in the medal tally since bowling was considered only as a demonstration sport.

Advertisement
Advertisement