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City Leaders Speak Favorably About Olympics in Santa Monica
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Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

September 15,, 2016 -- The City Council on Tuesday approved steps toward making Santa Monica the host of beach volleyball in the 2024 Olympics if the Los Angeles area is picked as the site for the games.

City Council members spoke favorably about the possibility of beach volleyball being played in the city where the sport's historians say it began ("Santa Monica Inches Closer to Net in Bid to Host 2024 Olympics Volleyball," September 8, 2016).

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, not only to bring the sport of beach volleyball home to Santa Monica on a worldwide stage, but to really showcase what is so special and wonderful about Santa Monica,” Councilmember Gleam Davis said.

Along with expressing enthusiasm, council members acknowledged that various specifics need to be resolved and possible problems must be addressed, including a concern by pier tenants that it could take a hit on their business.

Judith Meister, Santa Monica’s beach administrator, told the council that an in-depth economic study of the effect of hosting the competition, both negative and positive, has not been done.

“We are so far out, we haven’t really identified all the issues and what all the costs and benefits are,” she said. “If L.A. is successful [at winning the bid], that certainly would be done.”

Councilmember Kevin McKeown said City staff should be careful with what “we inadvertently give away in terms of our rights as a community.”

“I know the Olympics have very strong rules on commercial naming [and] branding,” he said. “Even the use of the word ‘Olympic’ is tremendously constrained when the Olympics are in town.”

He ended with a joke, “I don’t want to be arrested for telling someone to go down 14th Street and turn left at Olympic.”

The council also heard from enthusiastic supporters, including former beach volleyball world champion and Olympian Sinjin Smith. He is a Santa Monica native and now does venue oversight for the Olympics.

“Anyone who comes to L.A. and they come to the beach, they come to Santa Monica,” he said. “They come out the 10 Freeway, and the first place they see is north of the pier. What an incredible site without the venue, but with the venue it’ll just be iconic.”


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