Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously backed the efforts of a committee that is exploring whether San Diego should bid for the 2024 summer Olympic and Paralympic games.
The idea of a local Olympic bid is not new. Chairman Greg Cox brought up the idea in 1998, and more recently former Mayor Bob Filner, suggested San Diego and Tijuana jointly host the games, but that would violate Olympic rules.
The San Diego 2024 Exploratory Committee has refocused on San Diego as the official host, with events spread throughout the region.
Cox said San Diego hosting the 2024 games is "probably a long shot,'' but urged the board to get behind the effort to "showcase the entire region by hosting the Summer Olympics.''
"If we were successful in 2024, or 2028 or 2032, I think there's no doubt that it could be a significant and lasting way to energize a lot of the people in the San Diego region, and probably see a lot of major infrastructure improvements that are long overdue,'' Cox said.
Supervisor Dave Roberts said bringing the games to San Diego would positively impact civic pride, the local economy and the region's ability to attract visitors. Although it's notoriously difficult to find longer-term uses for Olympic facilities, if San Diego plans ahead, the future use of any facilities or stadiums that were constructed could be predetermined, Roberts said.
Cox and Roberts also noted the county's "beautiful climate nearly year-round,'' ethnic diversity, unique economy and successful hosting of previous major athletic events like Super Bowls and the U.S. Open.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to unify with the city and the entire county behind a common cause to showcase our regional assets in our county as an international destination,'' Roberts said.
Ten cities including San Diego are expected to compete for the U.S. bid for the 2024 games, with the selection to be made late next year, according to exploratory committee chairman Vince Mudd.
Supervisor Bill Horn said he supported the Olympic bid "as long as we don't spend any of our money to bring them here.''
The last U.S. city to host the summer games was Atlanta in 1996. Rio de Janeiro is scheduled to host the Olympics in three years, and Tokyo in 2020.