Last week, the city of Los Angeles officially confirmed its interest in hosting a third Olympics: the 2024 Summer Games. At first glance, LA seems like an ideal choice, boasting beautiful weather, great venues, and a proven past record of successful hosting gigs. But it's also the birthplace of chihuahuas in purses and home to notorious traffic, Charlie Sheen, and snippets of conversation like, "I don't know ... he just has a really good energy."
And although LA may be used to the limelight, serving as the international stage for the biggest global event can attract a harsher spotlight, too. Here's a look at the pros and cons of another Los Angeles Olympics:
1. Incentive For Mass Transit?
This is what Los Angelenos' dreams look like.
I think we've already got enough incentive for a mass transit system in LA, but the Olympics is an event that could finally propel this dream into reality. A subway system, high-speed rail, Apparition — we'd be open to anything at this point. And the Olympics would be a great opportunity to show off how green we can be (assuming green is still in and sexy).
2. Mitt Romney Can Stop Reading the Classifieds
Mitt was President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics. During the presidential campaign, Mitt never let us forget that he spearheaded the successful 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games (which was $379 million in the gutter before he took charge). Since the White House position is no longer open, Mitt could grab the reins again as President and CEO of the Organizing Committee. Sure, he'll be 77, but he'll still be a silver fox, and it's only appropriate that the guy heading an Olympics in Hollywood boasts movie star good looks, right? Mitt's track record and experience would be assets in keeping the Games on a budget, one that perhaps Paul Ryan could write up (if he's not too busy training for the Olympic marathon — I hear he's fast). There's already a lot of hot air out here in LA, but we're desert people — we always welcome more!
3. Perfect Weather
That's considered an ugly day in LA.
The rumors are true: it's sunny, warm, and wonderful. Games organizers wouldn't have to worry about weather delays or cancellation — just ratings, empty seats, security, doping scandals, power outages (hey, Super Bowl), wardrobe malfunctions, and preventing moments like this:
I see him as more of a boxer briefs kind of guy.
4. A Proven Track Record
They say third time's the charm, but LA did a pretty good job the first two times. The city offered itself in 1932 during the Great Depression, and hosted again in 1984. The 1984 Games are often considered one of the most financially successful Olympics — organizers limited spending by using preexisting facilities and relied on corporate sponsorships for the new structures that were built.
This is LA on a good day.
Regardless of your political leanings, if you live in LA, you let out an audible groan when you find out that Obama is visiting. Suddenly anxious email chains flood your inbox, littered with maps, advice and personal anecdotes. Before today, you may have only exchanged an impersonal "Good morning" with Darryl the Guy Who Sits Near the Copier, but now you and D-Dog are taking every opportunity to trade war stories and offer helpful hints. The city's traffic problem has only continued to worsen since the 1984 Games. Because of this, Los Angelenos are in a constant state of middle-finger-baring, barely contained rage, offset only by the surplus of sunshine and the comforting knowledge that, yes, you can get avocado on everything. The 405 North on any weekday morning looks like the teaser poster for season 1 of Walking Dead.
More than once, I've asked myself, "Is this rush hour traffic, or did the zombie apocalypse start?" and then I review everything I've learned from the show about surviving a zombie apocalypse (shoot them in the brain, don't get pregnant, Carl is always missing). — Okay okay, end of rant. My point is that if a city of almost 4 million (and the county is closer to 10 million) and rising is to host a huge, international blockbuster event, things are going to get a little crowded. And I don't know if this city has enough middle fingers to handle that level of traffic.
2. Influx Of Good-Looking People
These are my neighbors. They’re always in need of a few more chairs.
The Summer Olympics features sports like track 'n' field, basketball, gymnastics, and beach volleyball, all disciplines that require agility, strength, finesse...and a rockin' bod. The resultant invasion of fit, sculpted, attractive athletes would fit right in with the health-minded, kale-smoothie-drinking residents. But as one of many pasty, slightly rotund East Coast transplants, I can tell you that we won't be pleased.
3. Celeb-Studded Sidelines
They're not watching the game. They're watching the Jumbotron image of themselves watching the game.
One of the most annoying things about Lakers games is that it's a "place to be seen" just as much as it's a place to watch incredible athleticism at work. The glamour and appeal of the Olympics could threaten to be a lot like a Lakers game. On steroids. But it wouldn't be illegal.
After careful consideration, I think LA — with its ideal weather and solid hosting record — could do a great job in a third gig as Olympics host. The inevitable spotlight that's cast upon the host could motivate city officials to tackle pressing issues (ahem mass transit) and offer opportunity to direct that spotlight to the sunnier sides of LA. Even though there are always drawbacks to playing host, having the spirit and energy of the Olympics Games just down the road — even if it takes you 5 hours to get "just down the road" — is worth all those brake lights and middle fingers. I vote yes!