L.A. hones its bid for the 2024 Olympics

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We’re still 18 months away from a decision on the 2024 Olympics, but there’s no time to spare for the local officials trying to secure the summer sports extravaganza for L.A. for a third time.

Los Angeles previously hosted the Olympics in 1932 and 1984.

This week, the local organizing committee – LA-24 – announced plans to house athletes on the UCLA campus instead of building new apartments at an old rail yard by the Los Angeles River. That decision could shave more than $1 billion off the cost of hosting the games and make L.A.’s bid more palatable to international Olympics officials and Angelenos alike.

Los Angeles will need every edge it can get as it faces competition from three European cities: Paris, Rome and Budapest.

David Wharton has been covering the story for the L.A. Times. He says the decision to use existing housing makes a lot of sense:

“I think it’s probably the smartest thing they could have done. The athletes’ village is usually the most expensive and the trickiest element of any Olympic Games,” Wharton said.

“The fact that they won’t be spending on construction means they can spend money making these things look nicer before the athletes show up.”

The planned Rams football stadium in Inglewood also provides a boost to Los Angeles having a fresh bid, Wharton said, because it would provide a new location for opening and closing ceremonies, which were both held at the Coliseum in 1984. “They don’t want to look like ’84 warmed over,” he said.