City seeks 2016 Marathon Trials; Could serve as showcase for 2024 Olympic bid, Mayor Garcetti, Olympian Deena Kastor join effort
LOS ANGELES — Civic and business leaders are rolling out the red carpet for USA Track & Field officials, who will soon select the host city for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Competing as one of three finalists, Los Angeles is pulling out all the stops to secure the event, which would take place in March 2016, just months before the Rio Summer Games. Many observers view the effort as a dry run for a Los Angeles campaign to secure the 2024 Summer Games. That effort is gaining momentum as local officials organize to bring the Summer Games here for the third time in history.
“Our city has a rich and vibrant Olympic history, having hosted the games in 1932 and 1984,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The legacy of the 1984 games lives on today, and our great city is ready to show the nation that our Olympic spirit continues to thrive.”
Three-time Olympian Deena Kastor, who grew up in Southern California and won the bronze medal in the marathon at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said Los Angeles is the perfect place to host the Olympic Marathon Trials, given its rich history and vibrant future.
“In 1984, when Joan Benoit won the first women’s Olympic marathon here in Los Angeles, she inspired a generation of runners – including myself,” said Kastor, who competed in the 2013 ASICS LA Marathon. “This city really welcomed me and the other runners at this year’s marathon and I am confident LA would put on a great event for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials.”
Next Monday and Tuesday, USATF officials will meet with elected officials, business and civic leaders as part of the site selection process. They will view potential course options, and will talk to marathon officials about the logistics of the event, which would feature hundreds of the nation’s top marathoners competing for a spot in the 2016 Rio Games. The top three finishers in both the men’s and women’s races will represent the U.S. in Rio.
The Olympic Trials effort is being spearheaded by officials with the ASICS LA Marathon, which would host the event in March 2016, the day before the ASICS LA Marathon. The annual race has become one of the top events on the distance running calendar, and earlier this year drew a sold-out field of 24,000 runners. The Stadium to the Sea course has proven popular with both everyday runners and elite athletes.
LA MARATHON LLC Chief Executive Tracey Russell pointed to the growing popularity of the race as evidence that Angelenos would flock to support the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. “We are thrilled to have the strong support of Southern Californians from across the region, and we know that local residents and running fans from around the country would be excited to support the Trials here in Los Angeles. It ties very nicely to our history as the ASICS LA Marathon was inspired by the 1984 Olympics, with our inaugural event held in 1986.”
Russell and others hope to make a strong pitch to USATF officials next week, and look forward to an answer in December as to whether Los Angeles will host the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
LA Sports Council President David Simon, whose organization is heavily involved with the bid process, said Los Angeles has a unique mix of sporting interest, business savvy and technical know-how to stage this kind of event.
“Los Angeles is proud of its Olympic tradition and of being the only U.S. city ever to host the Olympic Games twice,” Simon said. “Now we may have the opportunity to connect an Olympic event we have never hosted—the Marathon Trials in 2016—with a possible bid for a third Olympic Games, in 2024.”
While the process is separate, Los Angeles’ efforts to secure the 2024 Olympic Games are gaining momentum. Both the City Council and County Supervisors have recently passed resolutions in support of the effort, and Los Angeles is well-positioned to become only the second city – after London – to host the modern Olympic Games three times. A successful U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials event in 2016 could serve as an important showcase for the city as it seeks to host the 2024 Summer Games, a decision that will be made by the International Olympic Committee a year later, in 2017.
Find more information at: www.LAmarathon.com