While the next summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo, Los Angeles and Paris have been the final two cities with enough gall to want to host the Games in 2024. Now it looks like they’ll both get their shot, and it will both leave them crippling in debt.
The International Olympics Committee made an unprecedented move on Tuesday, awarding the Olympics to two cities: Paris and L.A. One will host the games in 2024 and the other in 2028; The IOC just needs to talk one city into going second.
That’s right, both cities are actually fighting at the chance to host the games in 2024. And in no way, shape or form do I understand why.
Sure, Sochi was a total disaster, but after hosting least year’s summer Olympics, Rio is now bankrupt and $31 billion in debt. That’s billion. With a B. Hell, they declared a financial emergency even before the Games started.
And don’t forget Greece, which never recovered from the Athens Olympics in 2004.
In fact the last considered Olympics success was L.A. in 1984. But even those games were promised 70,000 jobs, which ended permanently as soon as the Games were over.
But L.A. hopefuls argue that much of the infrastructure will soon already be in place to host the Games relatively on the cheap: a new subway system, Staples Center, The Rose Bowl, The Coliseum, UCLA’s facilities and the new Rams football stadium.
But what about the cost of renovations? Adding the infamous Olympic village?
What about the ethical dilemma of choosing the most expensive PR stunt in mankind over funds to support jobs, public emergency services, medical treatment and education?
NoOlympicsLA provides a laundry list of reasons the Olympics would be terrible on an ethic level.
We are in the midst of an affordable housing crisis, which is inextricably linked to our city having the highest rate of unhoused/chronically homeless people in the country. We have more people living in poverty than any other major city in America and are ranked seventh in income inequality. LAPD killed the most people out of all US law enforcement agencies in 2016 (again). Our city operates the biggest, most expensive, and overcrowded prison system in the country, and our county puts more people on death row than any other. We believe that resolving these crises as quickly and humanely as possible should be our city’s priority, and that for our city’s leaders and elected officials to waste this much money and energy on any other goal is unconscionable.
Because the cat is officially out of the bag and the world knows hosting the Games leaves their city — or country — in ruins, the IOC knows it may now have no other options. They’re eager to sign up the only two interested cities in order to secure the next decade.
It’s time the Olympics are molded into a not-for-profit model. In fact, it’s long over due. And until that happens, I feel sorry for any city that agrees to take on the Olympics, including Los Angeles.
Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports.