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California and the West | MIKE DOWNEY

Los Angeles, the Olympic City That Maybe Knows How

December 06, 2000|MIKE DOWNEY

President Bush--and by that we mean Jeb--can have the honor on July 27, 2012, of declaring the Summer Olympics officially open, if the Games really do return to Los Angeles.

Magic Johnson--who'll be about to turn 53--can carry the torch to the top of the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, which by then will probably be known as the Office Depot L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

Gov. Schwarzenegger--three days from his 65th birthday--can attend the Opening Ceremonies, after having spent much of his day entertaining international dignitaries at the popular Spielberg Mountain amusement park.

Spectators can embark and disembark at the handy Coliseum subway stop.

'N Sync can come out of retirement to sing.

"The Tonight Show With Chris Rock" host Chris Rock can be the emcee.

Korea can march in the Parade of Nations as one republic. Separate delegations can represent North and South Cuba.

The United States of America's team can enter the stadium next to last, followed by Florida's team.

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Well, folks, it looks as if they're serious. Are you ready for some Summer Olympics? A committee has been formed and it announced formally Tuesday that yes indeed, Los Angeles will make a bid for 2012's five-ring circus.

Furthermore, if the Greeks can't get their act together before 2004, then by Zeus, we'll take their Games off their hands too.

That's L.A. for you--your one-stop Olympic convenience store. We never close. We're open 24/7 to meet your Olympiad needs.

To us it's of no importance that the USA is in the International Olympic Committee's doghouse, due to Salt Lake City's too-generous offer of everything it has--the salt, the lake, the city--to bribe-grabbers the world over.

L.A. is undeterred. So what if Utah scandalized the entire Olympic bidding process in landing the 2002 Winter Games by giving the IOC an IOU? So what if Atlanta's main accomplishment at the 1996 Summer Olympics was to turn the phrase "organizing committee" into an oxymoron?

We are Los Angeles, my friends. We are the champions. Whenever you need a U.S. city where you can run, shoot, swim, do somersaults and ride horses, our toll-free lines are open. Operators are standing by.

Seven other major American metropolitan areas are supposedly after the 2012 bid--in alphabetical order, they are Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, New York, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington-Baltimore.

Now if you're like most people, when you think of an Olympic Games, you automatically think of the great cities of the world--Athens, Paris, Cincinnati.

But inasmuch as L.A. has been a host city to Baron Pierre de Coubertin's baby twice before, in 1932 and 1984, our Olympic motto is obviously: Eviter Les Contrefacons. ("Accept No Substitutes.")

Flushed with success from the gaudy profits of '84, our organizers point out emphatically that we've got everything you need to run a Summer Olympics here. They say the only thing missing in Los Angeles is a shooting range. Go ahead, here's a blank, fill in your own joke: --------------------.

We sure could use the money, should we reap another $232.5-million surplus the way we did in '84. A quarter-billion dollars should just about cover our losses in Los Angeles Police Department lawsuits.

But do we really want this?

First of all, our recent Democratic National Convention cost millions more than budgeters assured us it would. So let's be leery of promises.

Second, the crowds outside that convention and outside the Lakers' championship game kept our cops hopping and popping from dusk till dawn. So let's hope for the best, but brace ourselves for the worst.

Third, Munich (1972) had murder, Montreal (1976) lost $1 billion, Moscow (1980) had 65 nations boycott . . . and now Athens is making even Atlanta look competent. These things are hard to pull off.

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Nevertheless, if anybody can do it, Los Angeles can. Our organizers are so organized, they could win medals in synchronized organizing.

There are billions to be made for the broadcast rights. By 2012, NBC will have aired most of the results from the tape-delayed 2000 and 2008 Games.

L.A. won't learn until 2002 if it's the U.S. nominee--imagine the tension in Cincinnati--and the IOC will choose a winner in 2005.

So let the bidding begin.

Come on, L.A., get in the Olympic spirit. Let's build that shooting range.

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Mike Downey's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Write to: Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. E-mail: mike.downey@latimes.com

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