OUT OF LEFT FIELD: An Olympic task with a gold medal award

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It’s starting to look like Los Angeles might have a chance to get the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Of course, considering that this chance only came about after Boston rejected its chance to host, it is understandable that some would ask “Would the Olympics be worth it?”

The modern games started out as a fairly idealistic concept — to restore an ancient and glorious sporting tradition and uphold the values of international peace through friendly competition. These are worthy things to celebrate.

It’s starting to look like Los Angeles might have a chance to get the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Of course, considering that this chance only came about after Boston rejected its chance to host, it is understandable that some would ask “Would the Olympics be worth it?”

The modern games started out as a fairly idealistic concept — to restore an ancient and glorious sporting tradition and uphold the values of international peace through friendly competition. These are worthy things to celebrate.

Of course, reality will sometimes get in the way.  The Olympics have been canceled three times because of war.  The games have been held in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Various missteps over the years have led some to question whether the International Olympic Committee has lost its idealist way.

At the same time, some host cities have floundered.  For example, rumors have swirled that Rio 2016 is still not ready for the world stage, even after hosting the World Cup.  Other games have been disorganized, poorly managed and suffered from political and financial problems.  But many of these problems can be traced back to self-inflicted wounds by a host city or host nation — or even to downturns in the global economy — not to the Olympics themselves. 

Clearly the Olympic Games require a city such as Los Angeles — or a city such as Tokyo, the 2020 host. 

Both cities are large, modern metropolises and centers of international commerce. Neither city has the negative political baggage that a Beijing carries. Both have experience hosting the games before. While some cities would have to build a lot of new stadiums and infrastructure, both L.A. and Tokyo still have facilities left over from previous games.

In fact, Los Angeles has almost too many venues to choose from. Our proposal includes such obvious choices as the Memorial Coliseum, the Rose Bowl, Pauley Pavilion, Staples Center, Carson’s StubHub Center and Dodger Stadium (assuming the IOC makes the smart choice and brings baseball back). The proposal also includes events at the Los Angeles Convention Center and the Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live.

The venues are divided up to give Santa Monica, the Westside, Hollywood, Pasadena, the San Fernando Valley and the South Bay a slice of the action. San Pedro’s outer harbor will host the sailing events.

In some ways, Los Angeles is better now than it was in 1984.  Los Angeles didn’t have the 88 miles of Metro Rail that we have now.  We are already well on our way to more than 100 miles of track, including trains to the airport — an important factor for getting people to Olympic events.  It is also possible that Los Angeles may see its first leg of high-speed rail up and running before the games begin.

Hosting a major event such as the Olympics is a huge opportunity. It is a chance for some good worldwide publicity. It is also an opportunity for a city to examine what works and what needs some help.

The Olympics are special. They require the right combination of good planning, good publicity and smart finances. The ceremonies also require a bit of pizzazz — and Los Angeles is home to Hollywood, which knows all about putting on a good show.

There is no reason why Los Angeles cannot work together to pull this off. Like the saying goes, we can go for the gold.

James Fujita is a former GVN news editor. He works as a copy editor for the Visalia Times-Delta in California’s Central Valley. Fujita can be contacted at jim61773@yahoo.com