Los Angeles (AFP)
Los Angeles city council rubber-stamped the 2028 Olympics bid, a decision that clears another hurdle needed to bring the Games back to southern California for the first time since 1984 while ceding the 2024 Games to Paris.
The 12 city council members voted unanimously on Friday in favour of signing off on the memorandum of understanding and the host city contract documents which would see Los Angeles host the Summer Games for the third time in history.
"This opportunity is too great and we cannot pass it up," said council member Herb Wesson.
"We will make the necessary adjustments to make this the most successful Olympics Games in the history of America."
Prior to the vote more than 50 Olympic and Paralympic athletes joined the bid leaders to give support for bringing the games back to the city. One of those athletes was nine-time gold medallist Carl Lewis who said it was an emotional day for him because he owes everything to the Olympics.
"The Los Angeles Olympics was the greatest time of my life," Lewis said. "I remember getting a gold medal and running around the track. I looked up in the stands and my father had a tear in his eye. My father wasn't the type to cry.
"I am now a coach. I am so excited. My goal for them is to make their parents cry like my parents cried."
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti also endorsed the idea.
"We negotiated the deal of a lifetime," Garcetti said. "To create a new Olympic legacy for the next generation and deliver access to sports and fitness programs to every community in Los Angeles.
"Today's vote is a resounding show of confidence in our fiscally responsible plan for 2028 and more evidence of Angelenos' passion to return the Games to Los Angeles."
- Three-way agreement -
The vote means that Los Angeles, Paris and the International Olympic Committee will now join forces on a three-way agreement ahead of the IOC's September 13 meeting in Lima, Peru when the Games will be officially awarded.
The city council signed off on the Games despite not knowing the full financial reality of hosting the 2028 Olympics.
But Los Angeles' campaign was given a boost when Olympic leaders agreed to hand over a bigger portion of their broadcast and sponsorship revenue for allowing Paris to go first.
Los Angeles started off competing with other cities around the world for the 2024 Games, but eventually all bidders except for Los Angeles and Paris dropped out.
In July, the IOC approved the idea of awarding both the 2024 and 2028 Games simultaneously.
The Los Angeles organizing committee proposed a modest budget -- by Olympic standards -- of $5.3 billion for 2024 by utilizing existing structures and not building any new permanent venues for the Olympics. The new budget for the 2028 Games is not expected to be ready for months.
Los Angeles sought concessions for waiting four years which includes the IOC advancing $180 million to the local organizing committee due to the longer planning period and funding towards developing youth sports.
The IOC also agreed to waive $50 million in fees, contribute up to $2 billion of its broadcast and sponsorship revenues to the Games, and channel any of its profits from the Olympics back to Los Angeles.
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