LA 2024 turned to one of the most clutch athletes in Los Angeles history as the final voice in its bid presentation to the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday.
That would be retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and double Olympic gold medalist.
Bryant was not with the bid presentation team in Lausanne, but he starred in the final pre-recorded video shown to IOC members during a 50-minute presentation.
IOC members later voted unanimously to approve awarding the 2024 and 2028 Olympics to LA and Paris later this summer, should the IOC and both cities come to an agreement on who hosts in which year.
“There are so many different cultures represented here, so many different ethnicities represented here. LA can be anything you want it to be,” Bryant said to open a two-minute video, adding later, “It’s an opportunity to learn no matter where you look.”
And then, Bryant’s final words as the video closed and IOC members began applauding: “To have the Olympics here and to have so many different cultures represented would be a beautiful story to tell.”
Bryant joined the LA 2024 Board of Directors and Athletes’ Advisory Committee two weeks ago. He had previously participated in LA 2024 promotional videos more than one year ago.
The last U.S. Olympic bid, Chicago for 2016, flew in President Barack Obama as its closer at an IOC session in Copenhagen in 2009 (video here). Chicago was eliminated that day in the first round of voting among four finalist cities. Rio eventually won.
Granted, Tuesday was under different circumstances as IOC members were not yet voting on which city gets the 2024 Olympics. They may not vote at all as LA, Paris and the IOC are due to negotiate to determine if one city is willing to bow out for 2024 and take the 2028 Games.
Paris 2024’s final speaker in its presentation Tuesday was triple Olympic canoe champion Tony Estanguet, a co-bid leader. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke immediately before Estanguet.
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