File photo of the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool.
In a city known for producing nearly the most Olympians out of any other major metropolis in the country and for having twice before hosted Olympic games in conjunction with Los Angeles, it is only right for Long Beach to once again play host to athletes at its various venues, if Los Angeles is chosen as the location of the 2024 Summer Olympics.
At least that's what the city council thought at Tuesday night’s meeting, during which they voted unanimously to collaborate with the LA2024 Olympic Committee in their campaign to host the 2024 international games.
“Long Beach has a long history with the Olympics,” Mayor Robert Garcia said during the meeting. “This is an Olympic city. To be a part of the United States bid we know will be historic [...] and an incredibly strong economic benefit to the city of Long Beach.”
Following last night’s vote, city staff will now enter into an agreement with the LA2024 Olympic Committee to ensure that several events will be hosted in Long Beach.
Previously, the city hosted rowing at the Long Beach Marine Stadium in the 1932 Olympics and in the 1984 Olympics hosted archery at El Dorado Park, fencing at the Long Beach Convention Center, volleyball at the Long Beach Arena and sailing at the Long Beach Shoreline Marina.
Concern over improving and enhancing some of these venues was also brought up by the public and council members, who noted their historic significance.
“I would like to add to this [agenda item] that there’s a component involved that we look at our historic sites and maybe put some energy and maybe money into enhancing them,” said Councilman Daryl Supernaw, who noted that Lakewood Boulevard was part of the 1984 Olympic torch run and that the Traffic Circle was built for the 1932 Olympics.
Supernaw said that a contest put on by a local paper to decorate or enhance vacant lots for the '32 Olympics resulted in his grandfather winning the competition, simply by planting flowers on a piece of land at the corner of 14th and Locust.
Though a preliminary draft by the committee of venues proposed for the 2024 games does not include Long Beach, Garcia and city staff mentioned that the committee is expected to announce an update on the proposed venues and accompanying games very soon.
“For the last approximately six to seven months, we’ve been working directly with Mayor Eric Garcetti and the LA2024 Committee to ensure that Long Beach is well represented and a part of the official United States Olympic bid,” Garcia said.
According to city staff the committee would essentially pay for the costs associated with the venues and any costs that aren’t covered would come back to the city council at a later date.
If Los Angeles is selected as the host city in September 2017 then Long Beach staff will discuss more specifics about any costs and what that would mean for the city.
The chances of the Olympics coming to Southern California have recently increased as Rome’s city officials voted Wednesday to drop out of the bidding process. Los Angeles is now up against Paris and Budapest.
For more information on LA2024 click here.
This report was updated on 09/23/16 at 1:31PM with the correct spelling of Daryl Supernaw's name.