LA 2024 Olympic bid budget one-quarter the size of Tokyo 2020

Los Angeles 2024
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The Los Angeles bid committee for the 2024 Olympics released details of a nearly unheard-of budget plan Friday, insisting $5.3 billion will be enough to cover both operational and infrastructure costs for an Olympics that won’t need any new, permanent stadiums.

The cost would be less than half that of the recently completed Rio Games and about a quarter of Tokyo’s ballooning budget for the 2020 Olympics.

It also defies convention in the Olympic bidding business, in which cities traditionally deal with two figures — one for operational costs and one for “non-Olympics” costs that cover capital and infrastructure.

Bid officials say they can do this because more than 30 venues already exist in the L.A. area and those that don’t will be built as temporary structures. The bid folded in $1.2 billion for infrastructure, which would primarily be used for temporary venues and to bring existing ones up to Olympic standards.

“If LA is chosen to host the 2024 Games, the IOC does not have to worry about changing or evolving budgets, shifting competition venues or uncertainty about the delivery of the Games,” bid chairman Casey Wasserman said.

Los Angeles is going against Paris and Budapest, Hungary. Preliminary figures for Paris called for an infrastructure budget of $4.5 billion and operational costs of $4.8 billion, with 95 percent of the city’s proposed venues either temporary or already in existence. The next deadline for cities to submit candidate files, which will include updated budget figures, is Feb. 3. The Games will be awarded next September.

Gone from Los Angeles’ budget was a one-time projected surplus of $161 million. In its place is a $491 million contingency fund that would cover cost overruns.

Wasserman said all the figures are conservative and the numbers come in low because no major construction projects are needed. Los Angeles has already committed to more than $200 billion in transit and airport projects, regardless of whether it wins the Olympic bid. Often, projects such as those get approved in conjunction with an Olympic bid.

In providing a $5.3 billion budget, Los Angeles is playing to the International Olympic Committee’s attempt to keep costs — and building — in check; decades of runaway spending have greatly reduced interest in hosting.

Rio de Janeiro is expected to come in with a bill of between $10 billion and $12 billion for its recently completed Olympics.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles released its figures only hours after an IOC vice president called Tokyo’s $20 billion budget unacceptable. A government panel in Japan has said costs could reach $30 billion, more than four times the initial estimate.

Wasserman said the IOC will not be surprised when it sees all items wrapped into a single L.A. budget.

“The process has been very open and transparent,” he said.

The budget was also being independently reviewed by the accounting firm KPMG, which was expected to release its findings later Friday.

The bid’s top revenue sources are domestic sponsorship ($1.93 billion), ticketing ($1.47 billion) and IOC contributions from broadcasting ($855 million) and sponsorship ($453 million).

VIDEO: Los Angeles Olympic bid venues

Diana Taurasi returns to U.S. national basketball team

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi is set to return to the U.S. national basketball team next week for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics, signaling a possible bid for a record-breaking sixth Olympic appearance in 2024 at age 42.

Taurasi is on the 15-player roster for next week’s training camp in Minnesota announced Tuesday.

Brittney Griner is not on the list but is expected to return to competitive basketball later this year with her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury (also Taurasi’s longtime team, though she is currently a free agent), after being detained in Russia for 10 months in 2022.

Taurasi said as far back as the 2016 Rio Games that her Olympic career was likely over, but returned to the national team after Dawn Staley succeeded Geno Auriemma as head coach in 2017.

In Tokyo, Taurasi and longtime backcourt partner Sue Bird became the first basketball players to win five Olympic gold medals. Bird has since retired.

After beating Japan in the final, Taurasi said “see you in Paris,” smiling, as she left an NBC interview. That’s now looking less like a joke and more like a prediction.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve succeeded Staley as head coach last year. In early fall, she guided the U.S. to arguably the best FIBA World Cup performance ever, despite not having stalwarts Bird, Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Taurasi was not in contention for the team after suffering a WNBA season-ending quad injury in the summer. Taurasi, who is 38-0 in Olympic games and started every game at the last four Olympics, wasn’t on a U.S. team for an Olympics or worlds for the first time since 2002.

Next year, Taurasi can become the oldest Olympic basketball player in history and the first to play in six Games, according to Olympedia.org. Spain’s Rudy Fernandez could also play in a sixth Olympics in 2024.

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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