by Albert Bataclan, ABS-CBN News
LOS ANGELES — With a unanimous vote from the members of the International Olympic Committee, LA’s roller-coaster bid to host the summer Olympics for the third time, has finally reached its end.
The announcement on Wednesday was unprecedented, as two host cities were simultaneously announced — Paris 2024 and LA 2028 — despite issues on security and other cities dropping their bids due to high cost of hosting the games.
“I think if they read in the past, I can understand why those countries have made tremendous investments in their infrastructure using the Olympics as the excuse. But cities are becoming more and more realistic,” said LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I would just say be yourself — fit the Olympics to your city; don’t fit your city to the Olympics.”
Filipino American Olympian Paola Obañana, who competed in doubles badminton in Rio last summer, says having the Olympics back on US soil will be good for the games.
“I’m really really excited because you get to play to your home ground, home court advantage,” said Obañana.
LA originally planned for the 2024 Olympiad, conceded to Paris’ bid to host the games not only for the hundred-year celebration of the French capitals last Olympics in 1924, but for substantial financial reasons.
Going second means L.A. will not have to pay tens of millions in IOC fees and will get a $180 million advance, most of which will go to funding youth programs citywide as soon as next year.
LA 2028 will also receive a larger slice of IOC revenues and will not have to give the IOC a standard 20% of its surplus if the Games run under budget.
As former Olympic host cities suffered financial catastrophes after hosting the games, LA promised the IOC a cost-efficient model for hosting the Olympics.
Organizers say more than 90-percent of the facilities they need to host are already built.
Los Angeles has played host to the games twice—in 1932 and in 1984.
But not all Angelenos are excited. A coalition called NOLYMPICSLA.ORG says the Olympics are disruptive and too expensive.
“Preparing for and hosting the Olympics will place unnecessary financial stress on the citizens of LA while also disrupting the lives of the several million people who live and work here.
They argue that the city should focus its resources on affordable housing, fixing its homeless problem and police violence among others.
Obañana says she’s not sure if she will compete in the 2028 games, but has high hopes.