Los Angeles is officially in the running to host the 2024 Olympics.
With Boston bowing out earlier this year, the LA City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a proposal to authorize Mayor Eric Garcetti to execute agreements related to the Olympic bid. The U.S. Olympic Committee later announced that it had selected LA as the United States candidate.
"We all know the next two years are about fleshing out the details, but this is in our DNA," said Garcetti, citing the city's experience with the 1932 and 1984 Olympics. "We know how to do Olympics, we know how to do them well, we know how to do them economically."
Officials lit the cauldron at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Tuesday night symbolizing hopes that the Olympics could return to the city in 2024.
"We could use the shot in the arm, just as a people," said Danny Harris, an silver medalist in the 1984 Olympics.
United States Olympics Committee CEO Scott Blackmun officially announced that LA is the U.S. candidate for 2024 at a beach-side news conference in Santa Monica about an hour after the council's vote.
Rome, Paris, Hamburg, Germany and Budapest, Hungary are already in the mix. The International Olympic Committee will pick the host city in 2017.
"This is a great Olympic city," Councilman Paul Krekorian said. "Let Paris and Rome and whoever else who wants to compete know, we're in this to win it, and I think we will."
The Summer Olympics were last held in the United States in 1996, when Atlanta was the site.
The United States did not make a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, which were awarded to Tokyo in 2013. Los Angeles sought to be the U.S. candidate to host the 2016 Games but was beaten by Chicago, whose bid was ultimately rejected by the International Olympic Committee in favor of Rio de Janeiro.
LA is looking to join London as the only cities to host the Summer Olympics three times. The second-largest U.S. city initially lost the opportunity to bid to Boston but regained it after the East Coast city backed out over concerns about financial liability.
But many financial details of the Los Angeles plan remain vague. City analysts said last week that based on the information given to the city so far, "it is difficult to determine the fiscal impact and risk to the city of hosting the 2024 Games at this time."
The City Council's Ad Hoc Committee on the 2024 Summer Olympics backed an agreement last week that would show the United States Olympic Committee that the city of Los Angeles is committed to pursuing a bid to host the Games, but the full council was given extra time to review bidding documents that were delivered to the city last week. The "joinder" agreement was requested by the United States Olympic Committee.
Some city officials and residents have urged caution in pursuing the bid, saying the city could be on the hook for cost overruns incurred by hosting the Olympics, which boosters of the bid estimate as costing about $4.6 billion to run. Time has also been limited for Los Angeles, which was given only a few weeks to review the pact before the IOC's deadline -- compared with the several months that Boston had to study the idea.
That deadline was Sept. 15.
Last week was also the first time many city leaders and analysts were able to review a 200-page draft bid book and a proposed contract between the USOC and LA24, the nonprofit formed to pursue the bid and potentially manage the games if Los Angeles is picked as the host city. LA24 chair Casey Wasserman, a businessman and philanthropist, assured the committee last week that he believed "that this can be and will be the most responsible Games possible."
The ad hoc panel voted in favor of the effort after revisions were made to the agreement to clarify that the city will still have the opportunity to negotiate a more comprehensive "host city contract" at a later date. City attorneys told the panel that by backing the bid effort Tuesday, the city will not be exposed to any major financial obligations or liabilities.
A preliminary review of the budget appeared to show that one of the major capital projects, the Olympic Village, "may significantly exceed the projected $1 billion," City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana and Chief Legislative Analyst Sharon Tso wrote in a report Thursday. The analysts said more than half of the budget may go toward just remediation and relocation costs.
Supporters of the Los Angeles bid have said the city will more likely see a surplus, saying that unlike other cities, Los Angeles already has many of the needed sporting venues in place.
The Olympic Village would be next to the Los Angeles River in Lincoln Heights -- in a Union Pacific rail yard known as the "Piggyback Yard" -- and calls for track-and-field and the opening and closing ceremonies to be held at a renovated Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.