‘LA28 is all about supporting human legacy’


John Harper on Coliseum US Image: LA28

The Los Angeles (US) bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics and Summer Paralympics was an attempt to bring the Summer Olympic Games to the City of Los Angeles, California, in 2024. The Games were ultimately awarded to the City for 2028.

LA28 is making sport more accessible for kids by investing $160 million in youth sports across Los Angeles ahead of the Games.

The Los Angeles region in the United States is home to iconic sports and entertainment venues. LA28 will use existing world-class arenas and cutting-edge stadiums to host the Games. John Harper, Chief Operating Officer (COO), LA28, US, reveals in an exclusive to ‘Coliseum’ more on this and says that they are “fortunate” to have world class infrastructure already in place for the greatest showpiece on the planet. He also narrates how LA28 will show the Los Angeles 2028 story is represented not by a singular idea but by a collection of voices.

The sporting extraordinaire was held in the years 1932 and 1984 in Los Angeles.

The 1932 Summer Olympics were an international multisport event held from July 30th to August 14th , 1932 in Los Angeles, California, United States.

The 1984 Summer Olympics were an international multisport event held from July 28th to August 12th , 1984, mainly in Los Angeles, California, United States. It marked the second time that Los Angeles had hosted the Games, the first being in 1932.

Said a visibly full of beans John Harper, “This has been quite a journey since we first hosted the Games here in 1932. And obviously the success of those Games did the groundwork for 1984 and we have been hard at work over the last seven years since the start of our bid in what was initially for 2024 and now 2028 and we are very excited about the Olympics and Paralympics here in the City.”

Amazing experience

In 2028, the Olympics and Paralympics Games come to Los Angeles (LA). The Olympics and Paralympics in 2028 promises to be an amazing experience for everybody here in Los Angeles – the athletes, fans and the community.

It is not only a platform for human achievement, but a platform for diversity, a platform for inclusion and celebration of sports and competition and of fandom.

LA28 embodies limitless possibility, unshakeable energy and ultimate creativity.

City of dreams

People come to Los Angeles to chase their wildest dreams and an optimistic Harper maintained, “While we imagine what their lives will be here in 2028, this will be true for the world athletes as they come to Los Angeles to compete at the 2028 Games and as I have said we have been working hard in the last seven years on the journey to the Games and the possibility that lies ahead there and we have seven years to go. We actually have the advantage of additional four years (as the Games are now not being held in 2024) and now we are on a normal track of seven years path towards the Games. I am really optimistic for the future.”

Harper further maintained that LA28 embody what the City holds and chasing the dreams – “We are all different. LA is a place that we talk about as boasting limitless possibilities, unshakeable energy and extremely creative and we really want to build on that for the Games. As we build our organization, we build the celebration to really elevate individuality and self-expression. We believe the Games are really going to show best for our City and our people. It represents LA in all facets and leverages the strength of the burst of creativity that exists here.”

Designing the Games

The people associated with LA28 are working by the sweat of their brows to design the Games that everybody wants to see as the top shot added, “To design Games that we co-create to ensure the best plans come to life and the status quo is challenged. It does not mean that we are going to change everything but I think we are questioning a lot of things as we put together the operations and the engagement of our Games.”

Think different

Harper asserted that LA28 will be a different kind of Games against a backdrop that LA offers, an amazing sports and entertainment City. The City boast world class stadiums, world class operators, venues already in place to host the Games and with that design to fit the community, not the other way around.

He pointed out that LA28 will be all about a shared experience for Angelinos and also for the world – “We are thinking differently about how our Games can really serve our community, the sport and the world.”

LA28 vision

Collectively create what’s next by harnessing sport, community and the power of our differences.

LA28 mission

Create an unparalleled Olympics and Paralympics experience, athletes, and fans, partners our community and our people.

Harper further narrated, “We really spent a lot of time to articulate the above for our small team that’s now grown to 100 people. We really wanted to ground ourselves in the long game and so we spent a lot of time on how we operate and building our team.”

The vision here is about creating the future using sport as a catalyst to create new things the world has never seen. Harper and his team does not want to lose sight of “kind of a core” what they are trying to do in their mission which is really about creating that amazing experience for people and for all the stakeholders engaged with the Games and they enjoy the edge because they do not need to build the infrastructure for any permanent venues, as it is already in place, and can rather focus on the human impact that LA28 can have on athletes and fans in the community.

Games tailormade for the City

  • Existing world-class stadiums;
  • State-of-the-art universities;
  • A culture of creativity plus storytelling; and
  • Fiscally responsible plus sustainable.

Harper stated that they will make use of LA’s crème de la crème existing stadiums and venues’ operators for the 2028 Games – “They support our community in the most sustainable way and is fiscally responsible. And we are fortunate, there is no new permanent structure we have to build to host the Games now in LA. What we created is part of our plan that continues to evolve. What we mean by that is taking existing areas of the Cities that hosts major events every day in creating that one location multivenue environment which not only allows numerous sports to be experienced but creates that engaging excitement for people that may not even be coming to see the Games itself – live sites fan experience areas, areas to try sports and really experience hospitality.”

LA28 will strive to create that Olympic and Paralympic Park experience throughout the entire neighborhood. It works with the way the City is built and doesn’t really change the City for the Games itself, rather it will be a case of fitting the Games to the City.

Los Angeles also enjoys state-of-the-art standalone venues to host events – the American outdoor athletic stadium Rose Bowl which can hold 92,542 spectators and the newly built, very enchanting SoFi Stadium which can accommodate 70,000 spectators. And the City also boasts the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Village at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Asserted Harper, “We are extremely fortunate that as part of the 1984 Games, the Village has evolved significantly since then and it operates today as an international village in scale for the students every single day and the quality of the facilities for the students and the athletes in 2028 will really be second to none. Even now we swell with pride when we walk to the campus every day.”

A different type of Games

LA28 believe in a brighter tomorrow and want to prepare and create what’s next for LA and the Games.

People matter

LA28 celebrate individuality and self-expression and invite others to co-create with them.

The bigwig added, “Our operating principle is thinking differently and what we mean by that is the Games themselves are not coming together under one idea but rather we want to celebrate the collection of our differences and strive to be really inclusive. We believe that there is power in the differences and the secret sauce in the operating principles really lies in the collective inclusion. The Los Angeles 2028 story is represented not by a singular idea but by a collection of voices. They really represent Los Angeles sport and the limitless possibilities that are here and we really look to celebrate that creativity, diversity, the individuality and self-expression and really make space for everyone as we continue to embark on that journey.”

The Games success will lie in building the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic fans – generations not only define simply by their age but by their mindset and diverse by definition in embracing and encouraging their differences. This will help in making the Games a roaring success.

Social impact

  • $160M youth sport;
  • Disabled community;
  • Sustainability; and
  • Creating a human legacy.

Harper continued, “But, we don’t want to wait till 2028 to really make that impact in celebrating that individuality in preparations and to be able to have an impact on our community. LA28 is really committed to that journey in uplifting and supporting the human legacy. So, the LA28 journey will look to create shared experiences across our communities and we have invested up to 160 million dollars of our operating budget on our journey to the Games, to use sports in the City of LA to try and increase participation and accessibility to sports as a legacy leading up to the Games. But, we are surely not going to stop there as there is deadline on this side.”

The other exciting thing is 2028 will be the first time that LA will host the Paralympic Games – the really unique opportunity to create and expand the awareness, understanding and inclusion of adapted sport and people with disabilities.

Seeing elite parathletes competing at the highest levels will be one incredible experience for the Angelinos and will help shape a more inclusive society and, “We feel that certainly is an obligation in bringing the Olympics and Paralympics to life to make sure that we have a chance to reimagine what the Games can be and really inspire and engage the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic events.”

Sharing and caring

Harper reiterated that co-creation is something that really shapes the future that everybody wants to be a part of – “The best of humanity happens when people come together and share ideas to progress our thinking and collectively create an LA as a City that embodies that it is constantly evolving and reimagining. We are a diverse world City where everyone is welcome and everyone belongs and so many cultures are represented here. Everyone in LA has a story to tell and we believe in the fact that we have got the platform to be able to bring that to life and we believe in the possibility to make big ideas happen when we all work together to bring it to life.”

Both the SoFi Stadium and the 78,467-capacity Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – the American outdoor sports multipurpose stadium – will be employed to host the ceremonies. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will also be the venue for the athletic competition. The Rose Bowl will be a competition venue for soccer but the stadia final plans have still not been put in place.

Harper concluded by stating that over the next seven years, the Los Angeles community will really come together to imagine what’s next and create an unforgettable Games experience.

John Harper and his team is indeed bending over backwards to make LA28 an ethereal experience for fans and an event which the world will look up to with awe. The Games will remain ingrained in people’s memories lifelong.

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