LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — In July, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti delivered the news many Southern Californians had been waiting to hear for 33 years.
“I am proud to announce that the Olympic games are coming back to the United States of America,” Garcetti said. “We will host the games here in the City of Angels again.”
Bringing the summer games back to L.A. for a third time has been a life-long dream of both Garcetti and Los Angeles Olympic Chairman Casey Wasserman.
“We pursued this dream as two guys who grew up with the Olympics when we were kids. From the very first day I was in office, it was actually the first act I took. To write the United States Olympic Committee and say we want the Olympics back,” Garcetti said.
“The success of the ’84, the legacy of the ’84 games are the foundation of which 2028 is being built, and it’s hopefully a legacy we can build on in a pretty dramatic way,” Wasserman said.
A dream that almost missed becoming a reality. In December 2014, the United States Olympic Committee named Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., as finalists to be its 2024 bid city before ultimately picking Boston to carry the torch.
“It was a close vote, but in the end, they wanted to go someplace new,” Garcetti said.
For seven months, it looked as though Los Angeles had been passed over. Then suddenly Boston dropped out, and Los Angeles was right there to step in.
“L.A. is ready to throw these Olympics on in two months if we were asked,” Garcetti said. “We said, ‘Look, we are still here, we still want it and we just know that this is a town that loves the Olympics, that can save the Olympics,’ and they came to us.”
After a unanimous vote from the City Council, L.A’s Olympic dream was officially alive again.
“It’s my distinct honor today to formally name the city of Los Angeles as the U.S. bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Para Olympic Games,” USOC CEO Scott Blackman announced back in 2015.
But L.A.’s work wasn’t finished. They were still up against strong bids from Rome, Budapest, Hamburg and Paris. Within 13 months, Hamburg and Rome withdrew. Budapest held on until February, leaving two exceptional bids and a tough decision for the IOC.
“The strength of this bid, the strength of our leadership, the strength of the support of the community has convinced the IOC to do something they’ve never done in the history of the Olympic movement,” Wasserman said. “It was a bid that was so strong and so powerful and such a unique opportunity that they couldn’t pass it up.”
In an unprecedented move, the IOC is expected to officially reward both Paris and Los Angeles the summer games Wednesday, Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.
Is Garcetti disappointed in having to settle for 2028?
“Not at all. Actually if the terms of the 2028 deal were put up alongside the terms of the 2024 deal and they could say ‘choose,’ I would take 2028 today; it’s that good.”
Tuesday night at 11 p.m. Rick Garcia will be live in Peru, ahead of the big announcement. He’ll take a closer look at L.A.’s Olympic history and how against all odds, the city pulled off two of the most successful Olympic Games ever.