BEVERLY HILLS, Calif (Reuters) - Even as U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump raises concerns among world leaders, the mayor of Los Angeles is confident that whoever reaches the White House will not hurt his city’s chances of landing the 2024 Olympics.
“This is something that transcends politics,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) media summit on Tuesday. “Sports doesn’t ask what your party affiliation is.
“When the dust settles on these presidential campaigns and we have a new president he or she will squarely be behind Los Angeles’ bid to bring these Games back to the U.S.
“This is something that breaks down walls and something that brings us together.”
Making that pitch to the International Olympic Committee, who will select a 2024 host in 2017, could prove challenging if Trump wins the U.S. presidency in November and follows through on his plans to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Los Angeles is up against European glamor cities Paris, Rome and Budapest in the race to host the 2024 Summer Games.
USOC chairman Larry Probst conceded that at a time when Los Angeles is throwing out a welcome mat to the world the anti-immigration rhetoric being put forward by some presidential candidates will not make the challenge any easier.
“At the end of the day this is about building positive relationships with the IOC membership,” Probst said after a USOC board meeting where they were briefed by LA24 officials. “There are extraneous things we can’t control.
“We have to work as hard as we can at building those relationships with the voting members.”
The USOC has felt the sting from an international backlash before as New York’s bid for the 2012 Summer Games and Chicago’s attempt to land the 2016 Olympics were soundly rejected, much of that attributed to a strong anti-American sentiment within the IOC at the time.
“Our relationship within the IOC was not terrific if you look back six or seven years ago and (we) have worked really hard to rebuild those relationships,” said Probst. “That process is well underway and I think we are in a much better place than where we were a few years ago.
“The feedback has been positive across the board. I have heard nothing but compliments about everything so far.”
Countries bidding to host and Olympics have counted on their leaders to put them over the top.
Russian President Vladimir Putin led his country’s bid for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games while British Prime Minister Tony Blair went to Singapore to trumpet London’s successful bid for 2012 Olympics.
“Politicians, if they are good, reflect the people they represent and I know how the American people feel about the Olympics and I know how they feel about Olympians and Paralympians,” said Garcetti.
“I know that the Paralympic Games and Olympic Games is something that touches our hearts and any good President is going to follow with that spirit.”
Editing by Frank Pingue