The Olympics is one of those subjects that falls almost perfectly into the framework of the Third Los Angeles Project. 

Given the debt, displacement and militarization of space that have characterized recent Olympics, can Los Angeles – now preparing a bid to host its third Games – prove an exception to the rule?

Examining the past and future of the Games in Los Angeles, panelists participating in  the March 30 session of ThirdLA held out some hope that if the 2024 Games comes to Los Angeles, the city might be the recipient of some long-term benefits.

Skepticism is part of the legacy of the Olympics in Los Angeles, which hosted the 1932 and 1984 Games, said sports and urban historian Frank Guridy. Yet in contrast to checkered record of Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” Stadium built for the 2008 Olympics, L.A.’s 93-year-old Coliseum “has played a critical role in the political and cultural life of the city,” Guridy said. “It’s been a space of inclusion.”\

Renata Simril, president of the LA84 Foundation, saw the 2024 bid as an opportunity “to focus on what’s possible. We actually have the city and country operating with each other, something that doesn’t happen every often.” Bill Hanway, executive vice president of AECOM, the design firm that created master plans for the 2012 and 2016 Games and is now working with Los Angeles, agreed. “We are constantly looking at our process to ensure there is a long-term legacy that can be delivered.”