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Los Angeles vows "risk-free" Games if awarded 2024

RIO DE JANEIRO--One of the highest-stakes races in any Olympic Games is the mad dash to finish building the venues before hundreds of thousands of visitors arrive but 2024 bid city Los Angeles said on Tuesday it had an eight year head-start on th...

From left Janet Evans, Casey Wasserman, Eric Garcetti, Angela Ruggiero, Anita DeFrantz and Larry Probst pose for a photo during a LA2024 Los Angeles bid press conference during the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Gold Course in Rio, Brazil. USA TODAY Sports/Jerry Lai
From left Janet Evans, Casey Wasserman, Eric Garcetti, Angela Ruggiero, Anita DeFrantz and Larry Probst pose for a photo during a LA2024 Los Angeles bid press conference during the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Gold Course in Rio, Brazil. USA TODAY Sports/Jerry Lai

RIO DE JANEIRO-One of the highest-stakes races in any Olympic Games is the mad dash to finish building the venues before hundreds of thousands of visitors arrive but 2024 bid city Los Angeles said on Tuesday it had an eight year head-start on the field.

Los Angeles is up against Rome, Paris and Budapest hoping to host the 2024 Games, and all four cities have delegations in Rio observing proceedings and lobbying International Olympic Committee officials, who will make their pick next year.

"We will deliver this virtually risk-free Games because I am proud to say we have everything built. We only have one facility that we have to construct," Eric Garcetti, the city's mayor, told reporters in Rio.

"Instead of ongoing construction anxieties for the next seven years, we can focus on what's important."

Concerns about spiraling costs - Russia spent a record $50 billion on the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi - deterred some cities from pursuing an Olympic bid. Just last year, Hamburg and Boston rejected invitations by their national Olympic Committees to bid, with Boston's move leading to a quick pivot to Los Angeles, home of the 1984 Summer Games.

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Rio's Olympics are costing nearly $12 billion at a time of financial crisis, and critics argue even legacy projects such as a new metro line, bus highways and real estate developments have done little to improve the lives of the city's marginalized.

Garcetti said the Los Angeles's infrastructure of sporting venues, including a planned privately funded $2 billion stadium due to open for the NFL's L.A. Rams in 2017, will keep costs down.

That helps the bid follow the spirit of the IOC's "Agenda 2020" intended to lower costs and environmental impact, he said.

City officials have already authorized a $55 billion program to improve the city's airport and add train service, investments that would also help ferry Olympic visitors.

Los Angeles's plan calls for building one venue, the whitewater kayaking course.

Budget overruns can saddle host cities with a legacy of debt and unused facilities, which contributed to Boston and Hungary's bid rejections.

But Los Angeles' history - the 1984 Olympics ran a $93 million surplus that still helps to fund youth athletic programs - makes its officials more confident.

"Our plan reduces risk dramatically and that it can produce a profit for the city," said Casey Wasserman, the head of a top U.S. sports agency, who serves as the Los Angeles bid chairman. "Professional management of the Olympic Games will produce a financial success."

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