LA bidders want to give athletes a voice in bid to win games
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) Athletes will have a voice in the bid by Los Angeles to win the 2024 Olympics and host the games a third time.
The bid committee said Tuesday it has recruited 53 American and international athletes who train in the U.S. to serve on a commission that will help personalize the Olympic experience for competitors if Los Angeles is chosen.
The group is a mix of retired and active athletes. Past Olympic stars include Nadia Comaneci, Janet Evans, Michelle Kwan, Carl Lewis, Greg Louganis and Apolo Ohno.
Among those trying to compete at this summer's Rio Games are Allyson Felix, Rickie Fowler, Dawn Harper-Nelson, Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps, Alex Morgan, Chris Paul, Kerri Walsh Jennings and Venus Williams. Meb Keflezighi has already qualified for the marathon in Rio.
The Athletes Advisory Commission will review venues, provide feedback, represent the rights of athletes and promote the bid to youngsters worldwide.
Town halls across the country are planned so athletes who have ever competed in the Olympics or Paralympics can give their opinions on the bid. The first will be in Atlanta at a date to be announced. Other stops include Chicago, New York and the Bay Area.
''Our goal is to offer the most personalized games experience ever,'' said Evans, who serves as director of athlete relations and is a vice chair for the city's bid.
The AAC estimates there are over 10,000 Olympian and Paralympian alumni in the U.S. The bid committee plans to add more athletes to the AAC leading to September 2017, when the IOC awards the games.
Los Angeles, which hosted the Olympics in 1932 and 1984, is competing with Paris, Rome and Budapest, Hungary.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said the U.S. presidential election will have no bearing on his city's chances of landing the games.
''This is something that transcends politics. Sports doesn't ask what your party affiliation is,'' he said. ''When the dust settles on these presidential campaigns, he or she will squarely be behind Los Angeles' bid to bring the games back to the U.S. This is something that breaks down walls and brings us together.''