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Trump wants to bring the Olympics back to America

Would this be a boon for America—or another bust?


David Covucci


Published Jul 11, 2017   Updated May 23, 2021, 12:17 am CDT

President Donald Trump started his daily morning tweetstorm by chastising Senate Democrats for obstruction nominations before pivoting to a subject he’s not yet touched on in his young presidency: bringing the Olympics to Los Angeles.

Los Angeles is in the running for the 2024 Summer Olympics, which would be the first Summer Olympics in America since Atlanta in 1996 and the first U.S.-hosted Olympics since the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002.

The 2024 Olympics comes amid mainstream backlash against hosting the Games. The past two Olympics—the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil—were beset by myriad financial problems and construction delays, and the venues, since hosting, have become drags on the host cities’ resources. While America’s past two Olympics were financial boons, many other cities that have hosted in the years since have lost money. And because of that, three of the five cities initially in the running for the 2024 games withdrew their bids.

After the group was widdled down to Paris; Los Angeles; Hamburg, Germany; Budapest; and Rome, the latter three all withdrew, two of which were the result of citizen referendums against hosting the Games.

Despite costs, the Olympics can be a windfall for infrastructure, which has been a centerpiece of Trump’s domestic-agenda wishlist. The Athens Games drew praise for revitalizing the city’s subway system, and it’s possible for Los Angeles to use the event—if the city wins—to improve its highways and mass transit.

The Olympics have long been a hot-button issue for Trump. Before becoming president, he criticized former President Barack Obama‘s failure to bring the 2016 Winter Olympics to his former hometown of Chicago.

On the campaign trail in April 2016, Trump again dumped on Obama’s failed Olympics bid, calling then-President Obama a “total failure.”

“Do you remember when the president made a long, expensive trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, to get the Olympics for our country? And, after this unprecedented effort, it was announced that the United States came in fourth. Fourth place,” Trump said during a rally in Washington.

“The president of the United States making this trip—unprecedented—comes in fourth place. He should have known the result before making such an embarrassing commitment,” Trump continued. “We were laughed at all over the world as we have been many, many times. The list of humiliations go on and on and on.”

From rolling back Obama-era regulations to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, it appears Trump is adding winning an Olympics bid to his slate of things he wants to do that Obama didn’t.

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*First Published: Jul 11, 2017, 10:12 am CDT