The Undergraduate Student Government is officially supporting Los Angeles’ bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024.
Los Angeles has hosted the games twice before, and if its bid is successful, it would be the first American city to host an Olympic Games since the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“Obviously, USC is a major stakeholder because the media is going to be housed at USC,” USG President Edwin Saucedo said. “We’ve seen the positive impact that the Games have had in the past on our campus, [and] we wanted to show our support for the Games, not only as schools but as students. The Games can have a really positive impact on the next generation of students.”
Saucedo said that he was initially contacted by LA 2024, the city’s official Exploratory Committee working to bring the Games to Los Angeles. This ultimately resulted in a USG Senate resolution supported by all 11 USG Senators in February. Saucedo also referred the commission to members of UCLA’s student government, which also passed its own resolution in support of the Games.
The commission hopes that Los Angeles’ unique ability to communicate and connect with young people through media-friendly industries in places such as Hollywood and Silicon Beach will aid its competitiveness in securing the games.
“At a time when the Olympic Movement is working hard to engage with young adults around the world, LA 2024 helps pave the way,” said LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman, in a statement in response to the USC and UCLA resolutions. “I’d like to thank UCLA and USC students for their support and enthusiasm for our bid and for their belief in the power of the Games to make our city and the world a better place. Los Angeles’ youth is ready to be inspired by the greatest celebration of sport on the planet — the Olympic and Paralympic Games — and we at LA 2024 are eager to make their dreams come true.”
Though USC’s crosstown rival has its own storied history with the Olympics with 288 medals to date, USC remains the university with the highest number of Olympic wins, notching 309 Summer Olympics medals alone. USC has also won a gold medal at every Summer Olympics since 1912. USC athletes, including six-time Olympic track and field champion Allyson Felix and two-time medalist and beach volleyball player April Ross, are on the LA 2024 Athletes’ Advisory Commission.
The USC resolution cited Los Angeles’ past success with hosting the 1984 Olympic Games, the proceeds from which supported the United States Olympic Committee and the LA84 Foundation, which funds local youth sports organizations in the city. The resolution also noted that should Los Angeles be selected, a number of USC facilities would be utilized. Current plans have the USC Village serving as the media village, the Annenberg building serving as the main press center , additional facilities, such as Dedeaux Field also marked as potential Olympic sites.
Saucedo said that while some senators were concerned about potential student impact, the fact that the Games would be hosted during the summer mitigates problems with negative effects on the student body arising from the Games.
“There were a couple questions about how the Games might impact students’ lives, but [they] happen during the summer so we don’t think it should be a big impact,” Saucedo said. “We do want to work with LA 2024, if the bid is successful, to ensure that students’ voices be represented at the table at all times. As the Games come closer and decisions are being made and things are being permanently decided on, we want to ensure that their voices are being heard through this working relationship with the organizing committee.”
The International Olympic Committee will meet to decide the host of the 2024 Games in September 2017. Though Budapest was originally a third candidate city, it has since dropped out of the running, and only Paris remains as Los Angeles’ competitor.
“I think it could be really good for Los Angeles, but also I feel like Los Angeles is also very established as a world-renowned city,” said USG Chief of Staff Jenny Di. “I don’t think it’s one of those things where it’s like ‘Oh, this will put is on the map.’ We’re already very much on the map. It would be beneficial, but between Los Angeles and Paris, those are two cities that everyone across the world already knows.”