Los Angeles 2024
LA 2024

Los Angeles 2024 Olympic projected ticket prices, venue map in bid book

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Olympic planners competing for the 2024 Games promised Thursday to help restore credibility and stability to the international sports festival as the world enters an era of uncertainty.

In documents submitted to the International Olympic Committee — known in Olympic parlance as the “Bid Book” — the privately run group known as LA2024 said it had crafted a “no surprises” plan that will closely watch the financial bottom line.

“The world is entering an era of unprecedented change and uncertainty,” the Los Angeles organizers wrote. “The 2024 Games must help restore the credibility of the Games, ensure financial stability for the Olympic movement and create new opportunities to engage with young people around the world.”

The $5.3 billion proposal includes housing most athletes at UCLA and using the planned NFL stadium in Inglewood that is expected to be completed in 2019.

The IOC is set to award the 2024 Olympics in September. Los Angeles is a finalist, along with Paris and Budapest, Hungary.

Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics.

The documents were released as questions linger about President Donald Trump‘s executive order temporarily banning refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The government has told the U.S. Olympic Committee that the ban shouldn’t impact athletes traveling to the U.S. for international events.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said earlier this week that he’s confident the IOC will evaluate the bid on its merits.

The proposal projects that Los Angeles would be able to fill seats at Olympic venues.

The millions of sporting-event tickets that are sold annually in Southern California, and the billions of dollars spent on such tickets nationally, provide “ready-made databases of target audiences,” organizers said.

But it will come at a cost.

Average seat prices vary widely but a spot at the Opening Ceremony would average nearly $1,800, the document said.

But an average ticket price for a less-in-demand event like golfing preliminaries would go for $13.

After anxiety over taxpayer costs helped cripple Boston’s 2024 Olympic bid, organizers in stand-in Los Angeles have made its tight budget a highlight of its proposal. It requires no new construction of permanent venues, instead relying on existing structures and arenas, all serving the IOC mandate for less-expensive Games that require less new construction.

Over the years Olympics have been notorious for cost overruns, and studies have questioned if host cities benefit economically. Russia has struggled with costs from the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which have been called the most expensive Olympics of all time.

In Rio de Janeiro last year, the spreading health crisis of the mosquito-born Zika virus kept some athletes away, promises to clean up Rio’s filthy waters remained unfulfilled and the heavy financial bill made them unpopular with many in Brazil.

Acknowledging the negative stories that surrounded the lead-up to past Olympics, the Los Angeles bid promised “compelling new Olympic narratives around fiscal responsibility, community partnerships, world-leading sustainability, youth engagement across diverse cultures, celebrity endorsement and new technologies.”

A new prong of the Los Angeles plan calls for creating a satellite village at the University of California, Riverside, for athletes who would compete in rowing events at Lake Perris.

And in a city synonymous with clogged freeways, the Los Angeles proposal set a bold, and maybe unrealistic, goal: Bring 100 percent of ticketed spectators to competition sites by public transportation or systems designed for spectators, such as shuttle buses.

Here is the full list of venues:

Downtown
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum — Opening/Closing Ceremonies, Track and Field
Dedeaux Field — Diving, Swimming, Synchronized Swimming
Staples Center — Basketball
Los Angeles Convention Center — Basketball, Boxing, Fencing, Table Tennis, Taekwondo
LA Football Club — Soccer (preliminaries)
USC’s Galen Center — Badminton
Microsoft Theater — Weightlifting
Grand Park/LA City Hall — Race Walk, Marathon, Road Cycling

Inglewood
LA Stadium at Hollywood Park (NFL stadium) — Opening/Closing Ceremonies, Archery
The Forum — Gymnastics

South Bay
StubHub Stadium — Modern Pentathlon, Rugby
StubHub Center Fields — Field Hockey
StubHub Tennis Center — Tennis
VELO Sports Center — Track Cycling
Long Beach-BMX — BMX

Long Beach
Long Beach Waterfront — Open-Water Swimming, Triathlon
Long Beach-Water Polo — Water Polo
Long Beach Arena — Handball
Long Beach Pier — Sailing

Olympic Village
UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion — Judo, Wrestling

Valley
Sepulveda Basin — Canoe Slalom, Equestrian, Shooting

Other Venues
Rose Bowl — Soccer (finals)
Santa Monica Beach — Beach Volleyball
Riviera Country Club — Golf
Honda Center — Volleyball
Bonelli Park — Mountain Bike
Lake Perris — Canoe Sprint, Rowing

MORE: 2024 Olympic bidding news

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Deajah Stevens, Olympic sprinter, suspended through Tokyo Games

Deajah Stevens
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Deajah Stevens, a U.S. Olympic 200m sprinter, was suspended 18 months, through Aug. 15, 2021, for missing drug tests, ruling her out of the Tokyo Games unless she successfully appeals.

Stevens, who placed seventh in Rio, missed three drug tests in 2019, grounds for a suspension between one and two years. Full details are here.

The 18-month ban was backdated to Feb. 17, the date that Stevens requested her case be expedited. Her last of three missed tests was Nov. 25.

Stevens’ initial provisional suspension was announced May 1.

Stevens, 25, was disqualified from the 2019 U.S. Outdoor Championships 200m semifinals in her only outdoor meet of the year, according to World Athletics.

She ranked No. 3 in the U.S. in the 200m in 2017 (and placed fifth at the world championships), No. 31 in 2018 and No. 59 in 2019.

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MORE: Seb Coe: Track and field athletes need 6-7 weeks of specific training to return

Virtual figure skating competition offers glimpse of sport’s possible future

Karen Chen
AP
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It was early April. The 2020 World Figure Skating Championships had been canceled by Covid-19, abruptly ending last season. Rinks were closing down for health reasons. Some entire countries were on lockdown.

Anyone who has been around figure skating as long as Gale Tanger could see even then how difficult it would be to have any competitions the rest of 2020 if they required travel by athletes or officials, whether the events were international, national, regional or local.

Tanger, an international judge for 32 years, began looking for an alternative to give elite U.S. skaters left unmoored by the pandemic’s impact at least something that could feel like a competition, something to anchor a goal in the early part of the 2020-21 season.

So the Peggy Fleming Trophy became the first virtual event in the sport’s history.

“It worked!!!!!!!” an excited Tanger said in an email late Tuesday, after the judging of the competition was completed. “What an incredible leap for our sport. Obstacles have been removed, and a new highway has been paved.”

A 90-minute streamed video of the event will be available to the public beginning Friday at 7 p.m. EDT on the U.S. Figure Skating Fan Zone video center. The question now is whether this concept can be expanded during the pandemic to make more competitions possible.

“Any time you experiment with something new, you always are paying attention to how it can be applied to other things – and for normal times, as well,” U.S. Figure Skating spokesman Michael Terry said. “The virtual concept has not yet been discussed for any other specific events, including the qualifying season (for the 2021 U.S. Championships).”

Tanger figured the Peggy Fleming Trophy was a good place to experiment. The event, which she and 1968 Olympic champion Fleming had created in 2018, already was an alternative to the usual competition format.

It has just one program, a three-and-a-half-minute freestyle in which there is heavy emphasis on artistry and musicality and significantly reduced weight on jumps. It allows men to compete against women and is easier to judge than an event using the International Judging System and ISU rules.

The third Peggy Fleming Trophy was supposed to take place July 1 at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs, its home in 2018 and 2019. When it was clear by late April that doing it live would likely be impossible for public safety reasons, Tanger enlisted the help of U.S. Figure Skating and immediately began working through the logistics of doing it virtually.

After all, Tanger and her husband, Tom, who live in Wauwatosa, Wis., had been using Zoom to help with the virtual schooling of their grandchildren in Sydney, Australia, and she was using Facebook Live to judge off-ice competitions in Latin America. She thought there had to be a way to use such technology for a judged competition in which both athletes and judges could take part from their own rink or, in the case of the judges, their home or office.

Once the various parties were sufficiently convinced it could be done to post an online entry announcement, the 18-person field filled overnight.

Gale Tanger
Gale Tanger at the 2019 Peggy Fleming Trophy at the Broadmoor World Arena. (Courtesy Gale Tanger)

“I thought we may have found the Holy Grail,” Tanger said, referring to the way skaters responded to a solution to save at least this event.

“It’s so great that everyone associated with the event is trying to test the waters and see what is possible,” said 2018 Olympian Karen Chen, third in last year’s Peggy Fleming Trophy and a virtual contestant in the 2020 event.

This was the basic premise: each skater would perform a program at his or her convenience between July 8 and 10. He or she would submit video of the program, to be shot from a high center-ice position. Multiple attempts were permitted, but the video chosen had to be of a single complete attempt, with no editing.

The seven judges and technical specialist David Santee, all qualified to work international events, watched the videos from eight different places via Zoom at the same time Tuesday, as if they were in an arena. They scored on iPads, using the IJS software they have at live events, and they have taken a vow of secrecy about the results until the event is streamed.

Could it be more than a one-off? Probably not for more significant events like the Grand Prix series. The International Skating Union council will again discuss its fate for 2020 in early August. A decision is supposed to be made by Aug. 1 on Skate America, the series opener, scheduled Oct. 23-25 in Las Vegas.

To the question of whether the ISU is looking at a virtual format as a possibility for some events this season, ISU vice-president Alexander Lakernik said in an email: “No… At least at the moment.”

Added Fabio Bianchetti of Italy, chair of the ISU singles and pairs technical committee: “I didn’t know about the idea of having it (the Peggy Fleming Trophy) online this year, and I think it is a wonderful possibility to do it in this way in such a difficult moment. As to the possibility of using this format for other events this season, I have no answer. The matter has never been discussed so far.”

Chen, who has been training at the World Arena since late May, chose an expanded version of a short program to Katy Perry’s version of “Rise” that Drew Meekins had choreographed for her to use this season. She did three “takes,” with about 30 minutes between each, for an iPhone recording done by her boyfriend, Camden Pulkinen, the 2018 U.S. junior champion, who also competed. Another competitor, Andrew Torgashev, shot iPhone video of Chen as a backup.

(Defending champion Jason Brown heads the field, which includes 12 athletes who train at the World Arena. For a complete list of the competitors, now 10 women and seven men after Amber Glenn withdrew, click here.)

“I was quite happy with my first attempt, but I got nit-picky and ran two more,” Chen said. “I finally decided to use the third because it didn’t make sense to go with the first after all that effort.”

The limitations of iPhone video, where close-ups can lead to a blur from pixelization, meant about half the rink was visible on nearly all of Chen’s video. That obviously reduced the size of her image.

“For the most part, all the skaters’ videos were clear,” Tanger said.

Pulkinen, who competed in the first two editions of the Peggy Fleming Trophy (finishing second in 2018), also did three takes, using the third, as videographed by Torgashev. His performance, to “In This Shirt” by The Irrepressibles, enlarged on the new short program choreographed for him by Josh Farris.

“I tried to treat it as if each run-through was my only shot, the way it would be in a normal competition, instead of falling back on the mindset that if one was bad, I have multiple attempts,” Pulkinen said. “I felt the same sense of relief one would typically feel at the end of a competition.”

Pulkinen did not think it was impossible for a variation on this format to be used for more important events, perhaps with each competitor using a live feed and taking the ice one after another for a single attempt. It might require choreographic changes for skaters knowing they are not being judged on the view from several sets of eyes but on the view from a single camera angle.

“I’m keeping an open mind and taking this as, ‘Okay, this is a trial run for how video competitions may be, and maybe I learn how to choreograph something differently to appeal more to that specific camera more,’” Pulkinen said.

Such “virtually live” competitions would eventually depend on the ability of the ISU or USFS to ensure a high-quality, very reliable stream created with professional video equipment by a professional camera operator at the many rinks where skaters would perform. Given the money saved if there are no live Grand Prix or Junior Grand Prix events, arranging for such equipment might be money well spent to preserve some of the season.

“I think it would be very mentally challenging to do live feed competitions,” Chen said. “Part of competition is its whole environment: being with other skaters, feeling the pressure, having the adrenaline kick in when you get on the ice with people cheering.

“Letting go of that side of competition and embracing this new side will be quite challenging for people. I think it could work, but there will need to be a lot of experimentation.”

Over the weekend, Tanger judged a “live” off-line competition run by Argentina that had skaters from four countries. The marks were simple, on a scale of 1-to-10, but so was the execution of a concept that would have seemed like science fiction a few years ago.

Now the Peggy Fleming Trophy has paved a few miles of a way for figure skating to travel the information highway.

Philip Hersh, who has covered figure skating at the last 11 Winter Olympics, is a special contributor to NBCSports.com/figure-skating.

MORE: Jason Brown remains optimistic facing uncertain skating season

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