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Los Angeles Is Now A Frontrunner To Host The Olympics In 2024

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Photo by moskowmonkey via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Los Angeles is now the frontrunner to be the American bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, and the mayor says we're the ideal candidate."I think it is right for this city. I think it's who we are," says Mayor Eric Garcetti. "I think we benefit from it economically."

Even after Boston was chosen in January to be the American candidate for host city, its bid effectively ended last month when mayor Marty Walsh refused to sign a contract with the International Olympic Committee. The U.S. Olympic Committee must choose a new candidate by mid-September, and the L.A. Times reports that Los Angeles is making the push to be chosen, with a projected cost of about $4.5 billion.

"Thank you, Boston, for giving L.A. yet another shot at playing host to the sporting event of a lifetime," Times writer Bill Plaschke wrote in a column to a city that has traditionally been L.A.'s biggest rival. While the Boston bid was extremely unpopular off the bat, Plaschke cites "informal polls" that says Angelenos support hosting a future Olympics at the healthy rate of 70%.

Hosting an Olympic Games can be an extreme burden on any city—the most recent London Games went at least $10 billion over-budget, and some partly blame Greece's economic crisis on the 2004 Games. However, the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games are considered by many to be the most financially successful in modern times, mainly because the city was able to use existing infrastructure instead of building massive new stadiums.

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"Of all the cities in the world, L.A. has a real shot at doing this in a reasonable way," said Victor Matheson, an economics professor at the College of the Holy Cross. "They already have a collection of world-class venues, which cuts the cost way down." Curbed L.A. has a breakdown of how the venues would be used, including taekwondo at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (!!!!) and beach volleyball in Santa Monica. Naturally, the L.A. Coliseum is at the core of the plan—if it all works out, 2024 would be the third Olympic Games the stadium would host (the first in 1932).

In total, a city can make up to an estimated $5 billion in tickets and sponsorships, and that's not even including a share of global revenue from the games. If the games stay in budget (unlikely) and no major infrastructure needs to be built, then it could be a win for Los Angeles. But then again there's the age-old question of, "Where's the money?"

"My issue is how we're going to pay for it," resident Jack Humphreville told the New York Times. "The city can't even fix our potholes."