Less drama, more celebration likely for IOC
|Wasserman and Garcetti will lead an L.A. contingent at IOC meetings with President Thomas Bach.
But the drama is long gone, after other cities dropped out and L.A. conceded the 2024 race to Paris in exchange for winning the 2028 Games uncontested.
The International Olympic Committee must still vote on the L.A.-Paris combo package during its annual session in Lima, Peru, this week, but the event is planned more as a celebration than competition. Meaningful opposition within the 95-member body appears nonexistent.
Instead of nervously counting votes and aggressively campaigning in the hallways of the Lima Convention Center, the L.A. team has already turned its eye to the pomp and ceremony of officially launching the 11-year buildup to the ’28 Games, and transitioning from a bid to an organizing committee.
That’s exactly what the doctor ordered for the Olympic industry, besieged by separate crises on three continents, said former IOC chief marketer and longtime international sports consultant Michael Payne.
“For once, the IOC will appreciate a quieter, smoother session rather than having a lot of issues or challenges up front,” Payne said. “I think it will certainly be one of the quieter sessions.”
At the IOC’s request, the L.A. bid will be represented by a pared-down contingent led by LA 2028 Chair Casey Wasserman and Mayor Eric Garcetti, scheduled to arrive Sept. 10. On Wednesday, they’ll make just a single 25-minute presentation to members before the vote and take no questions. They will conduct a joint news conference with Paris and the IOC and then take questions on their own.
After the meetings, IOC President Thomas Bach will travel from Peru to L.A., where he will attend the Redskins-Rams game with bid leaders Sept. 17 before heading to New York City for the U.N. General Assembly.
This is not to say the five-day meeting in Peru will be entirely without gravity. Two presentations in particular have the potential for fireworks: On Wednesday, the IOC will hear a report on final planning for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, where ticket sales are on pace to reach a historic low and North Korean nuclear testing looms in the background. One day later, attention will turn to anti-doping and ethics matters, where the still-unanswered question over Russia’s participation in South Korea will loom large.
Unofficially, conversation among members, journalists and consultants will be dominated by the Sept. 5 police raid of Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman’s home as part of an investigation into vote-buying allegations from that city’s victory over Chicago and other cities in 2009.
On the session’s final day, American IOC member Anita DeFrantz is expected to be the only person to seek an open vice president spot on the executive board in voting on Saturday, according to Olympic trade journal Inside the Games. The body also is expected to approve nine new members — none from the U.S. — before it adjourns.
The L.A. contingent includes Garcetti, Wasserman, CEO Gene Sykes, Vice Chair Janet Evans, Vice Chair Candace Cable, board member Donna de Varona, Allyson Felix, Michael Johnson, IOC members Angela Ruggiero and DeFrantz, IOC member and U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst and USOC CEO Scott Blackmun and LA84 Foundation President and CEO Renata Simril.