BERLIN (Reuters) - Los Angeles’ 2024 summer Olympics bid will be a new start for the United States as it attempts to land the first summer Games since 1996 and put the disappointment of Boston’s failed effort behind it, the city’s mayor said on Thursday.
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC), which had picked Boston over Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington earlier this year, was under mounting pressure to deliver an American bid after the Massachusetts capital pulled out in late July over financial concerns.
“This is a brand new start for everybody,” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti told a conference call after a meeting with the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach at the Olympic body’s headquarters in Lausanne on Thursday.
The meeting took place less than 48 hours after Garcetti’s announcement in Los Angeles of the candidacy to bring the Games back to the sprawling Californian metropolis on the Pacific ocean for a third time after 1932 and 1984.
“It was important for us to show that Los Angeles, at the beginning of this contest, has thought our bid through,” Garcetti said.
“Any campaign is about relationships,” he added, preferring a “face-to-face” meeting with the IOC President, whose organization will elect the winner in 2017.
Rome, Paris, Germany’s Hamburg and Hungarian capital Budapest have so far also announced their candidacies. The deadline for bids is Sept. 15.
The United States have bid before with Chicago and New York failing in previous attempts before the latest Boston debacle.
Garcetti said the short preparation time after Boston’s surprise withdrawal on July 28, had not affected plans for the bid.
“LA is not our first dance. We understand not only how to compete and win the Olympics but also how to run them,” he said, adding the city had some 85 percent of the venues ready or under planned construction regardless of the Games.
He also highlighted the city’s current infrastructure investment as well as its financial clout along with its diverse population where “over 200 languages are spoken” as bid assets.
“Everyone can feel at home. Every athlete has a home advantage,” Garcetti said following the meeting which also included USOC chief Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun.
“We had the chance to express the excitement and enthusiasm of being the official U.S. bid city for 2024. Los Angeles has benefited greatly from our involvement with the Olympic movement and vice versa,” said Garcetti.
“I think it’s time for America to bring the Olympics back home. The United States love the Olympics and the Olympics loves the United states.”
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly