Mayor Garcetti makes the case for 2024 Olympics in LA

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Are you one of those people who’s spent the last two weeks glued to the TV or your phone—watching hours of swimming, diving, gymnastics, and beach volley ball, and perhaps even some shot put or water polo? With the Rio Olympics wrapping up, some folks are already looking ahead longingly to the 2020 Summer Games. But one group called LA 2024 is looking even further down the road—trying to bring the Games to Los Angeles eight years from now in 2024.

Experts say that it could cost $4.5 billion to $6 billion or more to host the Olympics here. And critics say that money could be better spent on other priorities. But LA Mayor Eric Garcetti doesn’t agree.

“Great cities address their great challenges. For us—traffic; the work I’m doing on homelessness, making sure we can have affordable housing. But they also reach for great opportunities. And they are tied together. So when people say that money could be better spent elsewhere, the money that we get is money that comes from the Olympics. It’s not our city budget that we assign to that. It’s something that’s given to us through revenues and ticket sales and sponsorships and directly from the Olympics.

“And every time we crunch the numbers here in LA, we’re more and more convinced that just like 1984, we’ll actually at the end of these Games be holding a profit from these Games that we can put into our youth sports programs, our health programs here. And that was the legacy of 1984. We spent $235 million from those profits that we had redoing our ball fields, building swimming pools, investing in the next generation. Serena and Venus Williams came up through the LA 84 Foundation and now are two of the great tennis players we’ve ever had and have changed how we think about that sport by being African-American stars, coming out of Compton. And those sorts of stories are yet to be written.”

He talked to KCRW about his visit to Rio. Listen: