If the Olympics come to Los Angeles in 2024, Santa Monica could host the beach volleyball event in a temporary 12,000-person venue adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier.

Officials from the LA 2024 campaign to bring the Games to Los Angeles are visiting several city commissions in the coming weeks to provide more information on the proposal.

At their first meeting Monday night, officials outlined the process to a handful of residents.

Jeff Millman, Chief Communications Officer for LA 2024, said the Olympic bid is actually an international political campaign. The Los Angeles committee is competing against Paris, Budapest and Rome for the right to host the 2024 Summer Games. At this point the contenders are gathering their materials in advance of a 2017 vote that will determine the host. The voters are representatives of non-bidding countries associated with the International Olympic Committee.

“We’re working really hard to have the best plan that’s consistent with our regional partners but also appealing to [the voters],” he said.

Those plans call for clusters of events around Los Angeles County. A majority of sports would be located in the Downtown cluster (Coliseum, LAFC Stadium, Galen Center, Convention Center, Staples Center, Microsoft Theater, Bunker Hill and City Hall) including athletics, swimming, badminton, taekwondo, table tennis, judo, wrestling, boxing, fencing, handball, basketball, weight lifting, archery, cycling and the marathon.

The Valley cluster would include equestrian, canoe slalom, shooting and modern pentathlon.

The South Bay cluster would focus on the StubHub center including rugby, tennis, cycling and BMX.

The Coastal cluster covers beach volleyball, open swimming and the triathlon in Santa Monica. Events in the UCLA area include field hockey, indoor volleyball and water polo.

Other events scattered around the region include sailing, golf, gymnastics, soccer, rowing, spring kayak and mountain biking.

No plans have been announced for the upcoming NFL stadium because the bid had to be submitted prior to the Rams’ announced return to Los Angeles. Millman said the new stadium “fell into our lap” and will certainly become part of the bid once talks with the owners have concluded.

Every Olympic sport can be played in a pre-existing venue except one: canoe/kayak slalom. LA 2024 will have to build that particular facility, but otherwise, everything else needed for the games is either already built (such as facilities at UCLA and USC), already planned for construction by 2024 (including the new NFL stadium in Inglewood) or a temporary building (like the Santa Monica venue).

In addition to preexisting world-class sports facilities, he said the area’s public transit expansion is already underway and improvements are occurring at LAX regardless.

In Santa Monica, Olympic officials plan to build a temporary beach volleyball stadium just north of the Santa Monica Pier. The five-story structure will hold about 12,000 people and include a single court, spectator seating, production facilities, bathrooms, warm-up courts and a 10-foot high security fence. The entire footprint would stretch from the Pier to the first pedestrian bridge at about the 1400 block of Ocean Front Walk.

The structure would be built in phases, eventually covering most of the parking lot adjacent to the pier, and volleyball spectators would access the structure via a custom-built temporary walkway connecting to the pier. The bike path would temporarily be rerouted closer to the ocean and access to the area would be heavily restricted by security.

The actual arena would have a wall of about 40 feet facing the ocean and a higher wall facing PCH. Organizers said the design is similar to the volleyball stage under construction in Rio and will shield the court from ocean winds while providing spectators with ocean views during the event.

Millman said spectators at an Olympic event are known to arrive very early and enjoy the venue both before and after the actual competition. For Santa Monica, that would mean a consistent stream of visitors on the pier and around downtown throughout the competition.

“We don’t expect all 12,000 to get off one train and rush over in a flash mob,” he said. “They’ll be coming on a rolling basis and with two sessions, that will stagger some of the crowd. They will enter from the pier so that will be of great economic benefit to the pier businesses.”

He said the expectation would be for spectators to utilize public transit as much as possible.

“Considering our use of the parking lots, public transit is how people are primarily going to get there if they’re not coming from Santa Monica,” he said.

Local municipalities, including Santa Monica, will have to formally vote to support the bid, and Millman said that process will likely happen in October of this year. The final written applications are submitted to the international agency in February 2017 with the final vote happening in September of that year.

Millman described Santa Monica as the delivery room for the bid. Following a vote by the Los Angeles City Council to pursue the Olympics, the bid committee officially announced its candidacy at the Annenberg Community Beach House.

“We did it right on the beach in Santa Monica,” he said. “We wanted to show off an iconic natural asset we have as a region, and we’re really proud of Santa Monica.”

LA 2024 will also conduct public briefings at:

Planning Commission
Wednesday, July 13, 7 p.m.
City Council Chambers
Santa Monica City Hall
1685 Main St.

Santa Monica Pier Corporation Board
Monday, July 18, 6:30 p.m.
Ken Edwards Center
1527 4th St.

Recreation & Parks Commission
Thursday, July 21, 7:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers
Santa Monica City Hall
1685 Main St.


Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...