Q&A: What would a potential Olympic bid mean for L.A.?

Now that Boston has pulled the plug on its struggling campaign to play host to the 2024 Olympics, Los Angeles becomes the consensus favorite to step in as a last-minute replacement. A two-time host of the Games, this city has the experience and the top-flight sports venues to handle the world's most extravagant sporting event. Still, the prospect of a revived bid raises questions.

Didn't the United States Olympic Committee bypass Los Angeles?

When the USOC held a competition to select its candidate, people in and around the Olympic movement expected the committee to go with a proven commodity, especially at a time when so many cities have turned their back on the Games because of massive costs. Boston's upset victory — San Francisco and Washington were also in the running — led many to question the wisdom of the USOC board of directors.

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Is the USOC guaranteed to put forth a replacement?

Maybe not because the Boston fiasco has left everyone feeling embarrassed. But probably yes, because the International Olympic Committee has pressed for an U.S. bid.

Why turn to L.A. now?

Two reasons. This city hosted successful Games in 1932 and 1984. It also represents an economical choice, which could appeal to IOC members who recently enacted reforms that, among other things, encourage fiscally sound bids.

What would make the Games more affordable here?

Not many cities have a handful of professional franchises and two college athletic programs the size of USC and UCLA. Many of the Olympic events could be held at existing venues, including Staples Center, StubHub Center and Pauley Pavilion.

What about sports that don't take place in arenas and stadiums?

The L.A. proposal made to the USOC last winter had the marathon route following Hollywood Boulevard and other iconic streets. Mountain bikers would race through Griffith Park. The San Fernando Valley, all but ignored in 1984, would get events such as archery, shooting and canoe slalom.

Would everything be in L.A.?

In 1984, events were spread across Southern California in such places as Anaheim, Coto de Caza and Lake Casitas. The current bid features a more compact footprint with most venues in and around the city.

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Where would the athletes be housed?

An early version of the 2024 bid, created by the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, put the athlete's village across the Los Angeles River from downtown. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti's and his current team, who have been running the bid, have kept their intentions secret, in part because speculators might buy the proposed site and hold out for a high price.

Does L.A. have more leverage now?

If the USOC wants to proceed with a bid, this city would seem to be the only reasonable choice. San Francisco and Washington were ruled out as viable options early in USOC voting in January. Garcetti could seek concessions in how the bid is handled domestically.

Who would ultimately run the bid?

So far, Garcetti's office has run the campaign. That would change if L.A. becomes the official candidate. The mayor would form a bid committee with a full-time leader — the natural choice would seem to be sports executive Casey Wasserman, who has been instrumental in the city's effort.

Which international cities will bid?

Paris, Rome and Hamburg, Germany, have announced their intentions to try for 2024. Baku, Azerbaijan, could join in and there have been rumblings from Toronto, which just hosted the Pan American Games. Paris is considered the early favorite.

Hasn't the U.S. struggled with recent bids?

New York tried for the 2012 Olympics. Chicago looked like a favorite for 2016. Both bids crashed and burned, ending in fourth-place finishes. USOC officials realized, a little too late, that they did not have a good relationship with the IOC.

Why might things be different this time?

USOC leaders have worked hard to gain favor within the Olympic movement, agreeing to share more of the enormous revenue from U.S. broadcasters. They have made an effort to attend and even play host to IOC events. All of that could help a U.S. bid.


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