Why L.A. needs another Olympics

China is spending $43 billion on its Olympics to improve air quality, etiquette and transportation in Beijing, the most ever spent by a host city on the Games, according to Monday’s L.A. Times.

For instance, not one, not two, but three subway or light-rail lines are opening.

All this made me think L.A. could really use another Olympics. Not so much for the prestige of the Games, but just to get itself to focus and tackle some long-standing problems.

Gangs, smog, traffic — an Olympics could create the civic will to solve them all!

Heck, maybe Montclair should host the Olympics. At least then the MTA would give us the Gold Line.

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  • Ramona

    I vaguely remember the Olympics being held in LA only because traffic was diverted for all those days and the trucks attempting to deliver in the area were delayed for hours thus disrupting the schedules for the company I was working for. Yes, it IS all about me! It was a nightmare.

    Did the city of LA gain anything of a lasting nature from holding the Olympics there? Buildings, bridges, arenas, anything?

    Maybe I’m just ignorant due to my lack of interest.


    [I don’t know if there were any permanent improvements. Anyone? Certainly the trend now is to build grand public thingies which is why I semi-facetiously think L.A. might benefit from another Olympics. My recollection is we lost out to Chicago for either the next one or the one after that. — DA]

  • Jeannette

    I avidly follow the Olympics, but took a special interest when they were held in LA. There wasn’t a lot of construction. It was more about planning and corporate partnerships.

    Several of our existing facilities got face lifts (perfect for LA, no?) and improvements; however, new construction included the Tom Bradley terminal at LAX, the Olympic Velodrome (cycling) at CSU Dominguez Hills, and the Olympic Swim Stadium at USC.

    The last two Olympics held in LA were the only ones to actually make a profit, the last largely due to corporate particiption (think McDonald’s and 7-Eleven). In 1984, a profit of $232 million was made and 40 percent was dedicated to youth sports in the LA area.

    The LA84 foundation continues to grant over $400,000 annually. More importantly, they somehow managed to make traffic bearable for about 16 days. How did they do that?

    [Dunno. I don’t even know how you came up with all that info. Seriously, thanks, Jeannette. — DA]

  • Brian Husrt

    Dave, we have a part of history from the LA Olympics right here in the I.E. The Prado Olympic shooting range was built just for the Games. It’s right off Euclid Ave. just north of the 71 Freeway.

    The three-tiered stand for the winners is still there, as well as some of the Games emblems on the walls. Local law enforcement agencies use it for our quarter qualifying.

    [That’s cool! Thanks for the history, Brian. — DA]

  • Desdave

    I hate to disagree with Ramona here, but yeah, it was awfully cool having the Olympics here in ’84.

    It’s not that a bunch of stuff got built, but a lot of older stuff was made much better. Everything seemed to glow in LA for those few short weeks. Other than the maniac who drove on the sidewalk in Westwood and killed a few folks, it was pretty peaceful.

    Remember: The Olympic Village was at USC, right in the heart of South Central LA. We went to Diving there, as well as wrestling (at the Anaheim Convention Center) and a soccer match (yawn… at the Rose Bowl).

    And if they hadn’t built that velodrome in Carson, the Grateful Dead couldn’t have performed there in 1990… that’s the only time I saw that Olympic venue.

    I would love for my son to be able to experience that here in LA. I would say somewhere in the 2036 range it would again become a possiblity.

  • A.S. Ashley

    It’s fortunate that China has all this extra money lying around to do the Olympics the way we’d like to see LA spend on public transportation. In these tough financial times, China, by far, is the cash king!

    I loved what LA84 did to streamline the traffic issues, which I wish L.A. would do now: stagger commuting schedules; implement 4 day work weeks; freight transport diversions (my apologies to the commenter for her nightmare); not to mention the ton of folks who just left town for vacations to avoid the projected chaos.

    It was heaven for me! I could go anywhere in the city in record time and enjoy the most traffic-free period I ever experienced during my 13 years as a downtown resident of Los Angeles. And strangely enough, the air quality was some of the best we’ve had in decades!

  • John Dutrey

    David, I think you hit a great idea. Let’s create the Montclair Olympic Committee. You can be the chairman. Let’s teach L.A. how to do it right!!

    John Dutrey

    [John is a Montclair councilman and, as shown above, knows when to delegate responsibility! — DA]