Los Angeles

LA Proposes Split Ceremonies at 2 Stadiums for 2024 Olympics

The proposed plan by the LA 2024 Olympic Bid Committee would feature events at the Coliseum and a new stadium being built in Ingelwood

It's the celebration so big, it needs two stadiums.

In what appears to be a compromise between Los Angeles city leaders and local Olympic organizers, a plan was unveiled Monday to split the proposed opening and closing ceremonies for the 2024 Games between Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the NFL stadium being built in Inglewood.

The proposed plan by the LA 2024 Olympic Bid Committee would feature a program at the Coliseum -- which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies for the 1932 and 1984 Olympics and is located within the city limits of Los Angeles -- to begin the Games with a torch relay, live entertainment and musical performances.

The torch relay would then make its way to Inglewood and the NFL stadium -- being referred to as Los Angeles Stadium, despite its location -- where the formal opening ceremonies would be held. The $2.6 billion stadium will be the home of the NFL's Rams and Chargers starting in 2019.

The Coliseum would then host the official closing ceremony, while Los Angeles Stadium will simultaneously host spectators for live viewing and entertainment.

The Coliseum would also host the track and field events for the Olympics, as it did in 1932 and 1984.

"Hosting Olympic ceremonies across two iconic stadiums has never been done. But L.A.'s wealth of stadiums and technology mean we can think about 'What's next?' instead of just asking what has been done before," LA 2024 CEO Gene Sykes said.

Some members of the City Council had expressed concern about too many events -- and in particular the opening and closing ceremonies -- being moved out of the city limits, but both Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Council President Herb Wesson expressed support for the split plan.

At a City Council ad hoc committee meeting last month, Councilman Paul Krekorian said moving too many Olympic venues outside the city limits would change the "value equation" for the council, and in particular said he hoped no one "was even thinking" about moving the opening and closing ceremonies to Inglewood.

But at a meeting of the same committee last week, Krekorian did not raise the issue as council staff presented the panel with a proposed agreement between the city and LA 2024 that would give the council veto power over any venue changes outside the city limits.

The full council is scheduled to vote on the agreement Tuesday.

While the Coliseum is due for a $270 million renovation funded by USC starting in 2018, the LA 2024 committee -- which Garcetti sits on -- is still trying to land the Games and clearly felt incorporating the new $2.6 billion NFL stadium would help sweeten the city's proposal.

"LA 2024's unique dual-stadium ceremonies concept will enable LA 2024 to honor the shared history of the City of Angels and the Olympic Movement, while simultaneously capitalizing on the world's most technologically advanced stadium to deliver captivating in-stadium, city-wide and global television events," Garcetti said. "LA 2024's ceremonies offers the best opportunity for Angelenos and visitors to participate in the LA 2024 ceremonies and welcome the world to Southern California."

LA 2024 is competing with bid committees in Paris and Budapest, Hungary, to bring the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to Los Angeles. The International Olympic Committee is scheduled to make the final decision in September in Lima, Peru.

"LA 2024's ceremonies will celebrate the legacy of our wonderful Games in 1932 and 1984, while embracing the world's most advanced stadium and the opportunity to include as many Angelenos at the 2024 Games as possible. LA is a diverse, global city that reflects the face of our world today, so we want LA 2024 to be a global celebration shared by all," Wesson said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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