June 7, 2017 / 7:50 PM / 4 months ago

Olympics - Los Angeles bid signals 2028 Games acceptable

FILE PHOTO: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks along with LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman during a news conference following three days of meetings and tours with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission as part of LA 2024's bid for the Summer 2024 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A top official behind the Los Angeles bid to host the 2024 Olympics said on Wednesday the city’s primary interest is in the long-term health of the Games, not winning the 2024 bid, the clearest signal yet that LA would be open to hosting the competition in 2028.

LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said in a statement that when the idea of a dual award for the 2024 and 2028 Games was initially raised, LA did not respond with a “now or never” ultimatum.

“We could have used that strategy, but we didn’t because we thought it was presumptuous to tell the (International Olympic Committee) what to do and how to think. We’re better partners than that,” he said.

LA’s primary focus is not on itself but rather on the Olympic movement and the world, he said.

“That may be a surprising statement for an American bid; but, it shouldn’t be because America’s support for the Games has never wavered - ever,” he said.

LA is competing against Paris to host the 2024 Olympics.

Some think the City of Lights is due after its bids for 1992, 2008 and 2012 were all rejected. The 2024 Games would also mark 100 years since the French capital last hosted the international competition.

Last month Wasserman and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti rolled out the red carpet for an International Olympic Committee (IOC) delegation visiting LA, whisking them around to the city’s many sports venues and to a star-studded dinner at Wasserman’s home.

Garcetti told Reuters during the IOC’s visit that winning any Olympic Games would constitute a victory for the city, but also said to reporters “why wait for 2028?”

LA claims it can put on a low-cost, environmentally sound Olympics because it already has all of the necessary infrastructure in place while Paris would need to build several expensive venues including an aquatic centre and an Olympic Village.

The IOC will announce its decision in Lima, Peru in September.

Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Andrew Both

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