Los Angeles has officially entered the running to become the host of the 2024 Summer Olympics, vying for the honor with Boston and Dallas, a Southern California Olympic official said Thursday.
The mayors of San Francisco and San Jose were both sent letters to see if they were interested in making a bid, and both leaders declined.
It's a different story in LA. In a letter to the United States Olympic Committee dated March 4, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa confirmed his city's "enthusiastic interest" in a bid for the Olympic Games -- a process that takes years and millions of dollars to complete if LA can beat out other U.S. cities. Los Angeles hosted the games in the Coliseum twice before -- once in 1932 and once in 1984.
Only one city from the U.S. is selected to then advance to the next round of selections when it will compete against other cities all over the world. If Los Angeles is not selected in the domestic round, it is the end of the road, no matter how much money has been spent.
“There is no silver medal,” said David Simon, president of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games.
In the past, cities like New York and Chicago spent more than $10 million bidding in the domestic process to become the chosen U.S. city -- and those cities weren’t even selected.
“The International Olympic Committee hasn’t told us the ground rules yet,” Simon said. “But they do not want this to be an expensive domestic process.”
Simon said the United States Olympic Committee is working to lower the costs to avoid costing cities millions, as has happened in the past. Montreal famously racked up a billion-dollar deficit after hosting the 1976 Olympic Games -- a bill they didn’t pay off until 2006, said Simon.
The rules for applying to be the host city of the games -- watched by billions of people around the world -- change every time the games come around, Simon said.
Some of the requirements for a city to host the games include:
- 200,000 workers
- Setting up an Olympic Village that accommodates 16,500, including a dining hall that can feed up to 5,000 people
- Public transportation to venues
- Space for more than 15,000 members of the news media
- An international airport that can handle the influx of travelers that come in the thousands
- As many as 45,000 hotel rooms
The International Olympic Committee must choose a city nine years before the games, Simon said.
“This is only the first step in a very long journey,” Simon said.
Mayor Villaraigosa signed the bid, along with Los Angeles heavyweights like Tom Hanks, Magic Johnson Inc., Mattel, Disney and AEG, to get involved with the domestic selection process.
The United States Olympic Committee sent a letter last month asking 35 mayors in U.S. cities spanning the country if they would like to host the games.