Eric Garcetti

Week 100 (29 August - 4 September 2015)

Los Angeles joined the race to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games this week and the city did not waste a moment in communicating its vision for staging the Games for a third time.

The city’s key spokespeople are shaping up to be Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, American IOC member Larry Probst, United States Olympic Committee (USOC) CEO Scott Blackmun and bid chairman Casey Wasserman.

But as Los Angeles’s mayor, Garcetti will be the key figure in ensuring the city’s 3.4 million people are supportive of the bid – a task which cannot be underestimated despite the latest polls stating that 81 percent of Angelenos are in favour. The lessons from Boston’s failed bid are still fresh in everyone’s memory.

Whilst Garcetti’s key audiences are at home, his communications skills can equally be deployed for international audiences. At Los Angeles’s kick off press conference – on Santa Monica Beach no less – he addressed delegates the media and dignitaries in English, French and Spanish.

Even more useful than his language skills, however, is his ability to deliver a key message at a key moment.

From Santa Monica, Garcetti flew to Lausanne, Switzerland, where the bid’s key figures met with IOC President Thomas Bach. During a teleconference from the Olympic capital, Garcetti pointed out to journalists that in Los Angeles “every athlete has a home advantage" – a reference to the city’s remarkable diversity where “over 200 languages are spoken".

A small point to make but one which carries huge significance for athletes.   

Then there was his statement of intent that a Games in Los Angeles should be delivered via the most sustainable economic model possible – a message which had the dual purpose of reassuring Angelenos and being in line with Olympic Agenda 2020. 

“We understand how to run one (an Olympic Games) and I think LA City Government knows how to both have good oversights but also to hand it over to those private sector individuals who run businesses and know how to balance budgets and make sure that we return value,” Garcetti said.

Los Angeles may be late to the start line for the 2024 bid race, but this week, thanks to Garcetti and his fellow bid leaders, the city got itself off on the right foot. Whilst no Olympic bid race has ever been won by a strong start, races have been lost by bad beginnings. Los Angeles has most definitely avoided that potential pitfall, and Rome, Paris, Hamburg and Budapest now have another reason to look over their shoulders. 

Photo: Eric Garcetti