Years, months, weeks, even days — there are plenty of ways to measure the time between now and the start of the 2028 Summer Olympics.
Regardless of the increments, the clock started ticking Monday afternoon as LA28 organizers announced the dates for the massive international competition that will play out at venues across Southern California.
“Finally,” Olympic swimmer Janet Evans said, “the countdown begins.”
The Games will commence with a dual opening ceremony at the Coliseum and SoFi Stadium on July 14 and continue through July 30.
“With Los Angeles, you’ll see the Olympic Games as something bigger, something more important than just a 16-day event,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said. “I think we all cannot wait for the moment when the Olympic flame will shine again, here in Los Angeles, in five years and 361 days.”
The Paralympics will follow soon after, starting Aug. 15. But, as Mayor Eric Garcetti cautioned, there is much to do in the 312 or so weeks until it all kicks off.
The LA28 organizing committee continues to pursue deals with corporate sponsors — like contracts already signed with Delta, Deloitte and Nike — to help cover an estimated $6.9 billion in expenses. City administrators are busy devising plans for security, transportation and other issues.
Balancing the budget will be crucial because the city and state have agreed to serve as a financial backstop, meaning that taxpayers must pay for any cost overruns. Critics — including a protester who shouted from outside Monday’s gathering — have noted that previous host cities were left with crippling deficits.
“These are not students of the Olympics in Los Angeles,” Garcetti said, gesturing to the lone man at the fence. “We literally have enough facilities tomorrow to [hold] the Olympics.”
The mayor was referring to the fact that organizers will avoid billions in construction costs by using existing venues such as Crpyto.com Arena, Pauley Pavilion and Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson. Rather than build an athletes’ village — always an expensive facility — they will house competitors in UCLA dorms.
Money isn’t the only concern. There have been questions about how the Olympics might impact local businesses or distract from pressing issues such as aid for the homeless or providing affordable housing.
Holding their news conference at a swim stadium beside the Coliseum, a venue that dates back to 1932 Los Angeles Games, officials chose to focus on the city’s heritage as a three-time host.
Following its Olympic debut, L.A. returned to play a pivotal role in 1984, when organizing chairman Peter Ueberroth introduced the widespread recruitment of corporate sponsors, finishing with a surplus in funds.
The city was picked for 2028 after an unusual bid competition that ended with the IOC striking a compromise between the final two candidates, giving 2024 to Paris and asking L.A. to wait four years in return for financial considerations.
Bach and IOC executive Nicole Hoevertsz stopped by this week after attending the opening of the world track and field championships in Eugene, Ore. They met with organizers, toured venues and visited youth sports programs being funded by $160 million in donations from LA28 and the IOC.
“Here you will have 100% of the venues ready,” Bach said. “This allows you to concentrate, let’s say, on the Olympic spirit.”
The 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics will encompass 800 events in at least 40 sports, totaling more than 3,000 hours of competition. Some 15,000 athletes from around the world are expected to gather in Southern California.
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