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Los Angeles 2028 gears up for IOC decision, US linked to 2026 Olympics bid

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has confirmed that Los Angeles meets all the criteria needed to host the summer Olympics as its new masterplan for the 2024 and 2028 Games prepares to be rubber-stamped tomorrow (Wednesday), while the US has been linked with a possible bid for the 2026 winter Olympics.

The IOC yesterday (Monday) released the report from the Evaluation Commission 2028, which was tasked with analysing Los Angeles’ revised proposal after it announced its intention on July 31 to switch focus from the 2024 Games.

In a bid to ensure there were no losers from a 2024 Games race featuring two strong bidders, the IOC Session in Lausanne in July approved a proposal to authorise the IOC Executive Board to conclude a tripartite agreement with Los Angeles and Paris for the simultaneous election of the host cities of the 2024 and 2028 Games during the ongoing IOC Session in Lima, Peru.

The Session’s decision was contingent upon a number of steps, including the appointment of an IOC Evaluation Commission to analyse the 2028 candidature. This was done by entrusting the IOC Evaluation 2024 to extend its remit to incorporate this task.

The Evaluation Commission 2028 met by phone on August 24 to discuss the documentation submitted by Los Angeles. The city was requested to provide information on whether the candidature it had put forward for 2024 would remain valid for 2028, and indicate expected changes, including any impact such changes would have on the Games’ operations and budget.

In the report published on Monday, the Evaluation Commission confirmed that Los Angeles will keep the 2024 venue master plan, and that University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) will remain the Olympic Village. It also stresses the continued strong support from all levels of government, as well as from 83 per cent of Angelenos.

The report concludes that the many opportunities presented by holding the 2028 Games in Los Angeles would “far outweigh” any potential risk of awarding the Games 11 years in advance instead of seven years. The Commission also outlines that Los Angeles and Paris would mutually benefit from the opportunities for collaboration, shared knowledge and experience that would result from the simultaneous award.

“The report confirms that Los Angeles is ready to host the Olympic Games 2028,” chair of the 2028 Evaluation Commission, Patrick Baumann (pictured), said. “Los Angeles of course builds on the strong proposal that was put forward for 2024, while providing all the necessary guarantees to make us confident that the Olympic Games can be awarded 11 years in advance.” 

In a statement, LA 2028 chairman Casey Wasserman added: “Our goal has always been to create a Games concept that fits the long-term needs of LA and its people, not change our city to fit the Games. LA’s plan does not require building any new permanent venues, housing or infrastructure, so our transition to a 2028 bid presents only upsides.

“We can count on higher revenues, increased IOC contributions, and an investment of up to $160m (€134.2m) to increase youth sports programs in LA in the years leading up to the Games. This IOC Evaluation Commission report underlines what a historic opportunity LA 2028 is for the City of Angels and the Olympic and Paralympic Movements.”

Meanwhile, the Associated Press news agency reports that Salt Lake City and Denver are considering bids for the 2026 winter Games. The same country hosting back-to-back Olympics hasn’t occurred since before World War II, but the AP said preliminary talks have taken place about what it would take to bring the winter Games back to the US for the first time since Salt Lake City hosted in 2002.

So far, Innsbruck (Austria), Calgary (Canada), Sion (Switzerland), Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Sapporo (Japan) have expressed an interest in bidding for the 2026 Games.