While Los Angeles officials remain quiet about their Olympic plans, organizers in San Francisco have released new details and artistic renderings from that city’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games.
Marathon runners would stride across the Golden Gate Bridge and cyclists would race through Marina Green. Other athletes would compete in two of the nation’s top pro stadiums -- the Giants’ AT&T Park and the 49ers’ new, high-tech Levi Stadium.
The opening ceremonies would take place in a temporary 60,000-seat stadium constructed on landfill beside the bay.
If it all sounds like a glitzy, made-for-television production, organizers are promising to keep costs down with an initial estimate of under $5 billion.
“We’re not going to be building white elephants in our city or anyplace in our region,” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee told SFGate.com. “Anything that we construct is going to have to be thought through. ... That’s how we’re going to never leave taxpayers with any kind of hook on this.”
San Francisco is competing against not only Los Angeles but also Boston and Washington, D.C. Earlier this week, the candidate cities made their pitches to U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors, which will pick a sole American bidder early next year.
There has been some thought that International Olympic Committee members might prefer San Francisco, given the scenic backdrops and the fact that Los Angeles has already hosted the Games twice.
USOC Chairman Larry Probst insisted the competition remains wide open.
“There are 105 different IOC members and there are multiple opinions about which city we should put forward,” he said. “It completely depends on who you’re talking to.”
If nothing else, Los Angeles has proven it can handle the Games and would be considered a safer option. San Francisco still has important questions to answer.
With events spread throughout the Bay Area, various municipalities would have to support the effort and cooperate with each other. Public transit would be an issue.
“We’re working on transportation solutions,” spokesman Nathan Ballard said.
It doesn’t hurt that San Francisco Giants president Larry Baer, a leader in his city’s campaign, is a big fan of the Olympics and wrote a thesis on the Games while studying at UC Berkeley.
According to the proposal, an Olympic Village would be constructed at Hunters Point shipyard and later transformed into affordable housing. Crumbling piers beside the Bay Bridge would be converted into a beach volleyball venue that could later become a public park.