Revised L.A. Olympic bid adds Riviera and shifts events to Long Beach

An aerial view taken from the MetLife blimp on Feb. 19 shows the Riviera Country Club.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
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From the moment they launched a campaign to bring the Olympics back to Los Angeles, LA 2024 leaders insisted they had at least one significant advantage.

Plenty of venues to choose from.

The private bid committee has now called upon that largesse to tweak their initial blueprint, adding Riviera Country Club to a list of iconic sites that already included the Coliseum, Staples Center and Pauley Pavilion.

“Obviously Riviera is a world-class course,” said Casey Wasserman, the group’s chairman. “We feel it’s the right answer for our city and the right answer for our bid.”


In an announcement on Thursday, LA 2024 proposed additional changes.

Volleyball would be shifted from UCLA to the Honda Center and a new venue cluster would be created in Long Beach. Bid leaders reiterated their intention to use the planned NFL stadium in Inglewood and raised the possibility of rowing in Riverside County.

These changes stem from a series of meetings — many taking place at the recent Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro — with international federations that govern each sport.

“For us, the first conversation was ‘What’s the right thing for the sport and how does that match with taking advantage of our existing venues?’ ” Wasserman said.

Change is common for Olympic bids, which often morph substantially throughout the two-year campaign.

In this case, much of LA 2024’s original proposal remains intact, featuring major venue clusters downtown, in the San Fernando Valley and at StubHub Center.

Golf was moved from a municipal course in Griffith Park to the Pacific Palisades because the international golf federation liked the idea of playing at a club that has hosted the U.S. Open and two PGA Championships.


There was similar interest from volleyball officials who preferred the Honda Center for its size and luxury suites.

Federations have a good deal of influence within the Olympic movement, so making them happy could make a difference when the International Olympic Committee selects a host in 2017.

The L.A. bid’s newly envisioned Long Beach cluster would run along the waterfront, with temporary venues for water polo, sailing, BMX racing, triathlon and marathon swimming. Team handball would be located in the arena at the convention center.

“We are proud to join the LA 2024 team and will do everything we can to support Los Angeles and the United States bid,” the city’s mayor, Robert Garcia, said.

While the footprint of LA 2024’s proposal has expanded, bid leaders hope their array of “sports parks” would trim security costs.

“Being able to place multiple venues inside one secure perimeter is a great advantage,” said Doug Arnot, a committee consultant.


Moving pieces around could also create opportunities at other sites. Pauley Pavilion would now be used for wrestling and judo. With UCLA serving as the athletes’ village, other facilities on campus could be devoted to training.

The Westside lost several events but could add surfing and other sports being introduced at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As for rowing, LA 2024 officials said they are negotiating with Lake Perris.

News of the changes came a day after a rival bid from Rome slipped into turmoil, with the mayor of the Italian capital seeking to have her city withdraw.

Paris and Budapest remain firmly in contention. All the candidates are scheduled to submit further paperwork to the IOC early next month.

“We’ll continue to push on those levers to be sure our plan is the best-possible plan,” Wasserman said, adding, “This is a pretty good foundation.”


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6:03 p.m.: This article has been updated throughout.

9:00 a.m.: This article has been updated with additional details.

This article was originally published at 8:10 a.m.