March 7 - Los Angeles has become the first American city to formally register its interest in bidding to host the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In a letter sent to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), and seen by insidethegames, the city's Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, speaks of Los Angeles' "enthusiastic interest" to put forward a bid, which, he says, already has the backing of the City Council and such high profile figures as actor Tom Hanks, Walt Disney chair Robert Iger and Barcelona 1992 basketball gold medallist Magic Johnson.
Los Angeles' expression of interest, which is made in conjunction with the private Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games (SCCOG), comes after the USOC sent a letter to 35 cities to gauge their interest in putting themselves forward to bid for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.
Los Angeles would be a serious contender for the Games, particularly with such early heavyweight endorsements, but it has yet to be seen if it will face domestic opposition from San Francisco, which usually comes out on top in informal polls of IOC members, New York City or Chicago – the four United States cities considered most likely to win an Olympic bid.
Bids have already been ruled out by Chicago, the last American city to bid unsuccessfully for the Olympics and Paralympics, and Boston, whose Mayor admitted the idea of hosting a Games would be too "far-fetched".
If Los Angeles goes onto bid and is successful in winning the 2024 showpiece event, it would be the third time the city has held the Games after hosting the Olympics in 1932 and 1984.
After London became the first city to host the Games for a third time - in 1908, 1948 and 2012 - last year, Villaraigosa believes that Los Angeles should follow suit.
"Looking to the future, LA should continue the tradition by again hosting the Olympic Games in the 21st century," he writes.
"While the next opportunity to bid on the Summer Games would be for 2024, that would mean the Summer Olympic Games will not have been held in the US for 28 years since Atlanta in 1996."
Villaraigosa highlights the success of Los Angeles' past two Olympics and emphasises how the legacy of those Games is still very much alive, particularly in terms of venues.
"For both the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum served as the host venue and continues to be utilised for major sporting events today," his letter reads.
"When the city last hosted the Games of the XXIII Olympiad in 1984, it was an amazing time not only for the athletes - many of whom called Los Angeles home - but for all Angelenos to partake in a universal event that celebrated the successes of all the athletes who competed."
The letter goes on to say how the city has developed over the years and how it embodies "the Olympic spirit".
Villaraigosa also explains how hosting the 2024 Olympics would deliver significant cultural and economic benefits to the city.
"The diversity we share as Angelenos, as Americans, is second to none," he says.
"In addition, the city of LA boasts a world class atmosphere that includes the experience, facilities, athletes and climate that embody the Olympic spirit.
"Many believe that the major success of the Olympic Games in LA reignited the excitement of other cities in the world to host.
"It would also provide tremendous cultural, economic and social benefits to the Southern California region should Los Angeles be chosen to host the Olympic Games in the future."
The US has not hosted the Summer Olympics since 1996 after New York and Chicago both failed with bids for the 2012 and 2016 Games respectively.
However, with relations improving with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), there is renewed hope that a bid from the nation would be received more favourably.
The host for the 2024 Olympics will not be chosen until 2017.
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