By Steve Keating
PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) – LA2028 Chairman Casey Wasserman knows full well that he, and the rest of the world, will look very different by the time the cauldron is lit for the opening ceremony of the 2028 Summer Games.
Already with a full head of gray hair, Wasserman admitted his life, appearance, and the city will all be very different following an unprecedented 11-year run-up to the Games.
Even inventor Elon Musk, the chief executive of electric car maker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX who is developing plans to colonize Mars, was unable to offer Wasserman a picture of what the world might look like when Los Angeles hosts the Olympics for a third time.
“He (Musk) said he couldn’t even imagine what the world is going to be like then,” Wasserman, recalling a conversation he had with Musk, said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday.
“It’s hard to imagine that the guy who is imagining the future can’t imagine what the world is going to be like so I’m not sure how I could possibly do that.”
The cornerstone of the Los Angeles bid was that the city could host a Games tomorrow. That tomorrow, however, is now more than a decade away.
There will be five Olympics staged before 2028 and a lot can happen in 11 years, including a possibility of the United States staging another Games before Los Angeles takes the spotlight.
Still basking in the glow of being confirmed as the 2028 hosts, the United States Olympic Committee admitted at this week’s Team USA Media Summit that they are considering bidding for the 2026 or 2030 Winter Games.
But it is just not the Olympic landscape that Wasserman and his team must map.
Technology may well represent the biggest challenge facing the LA2028 organizing committee, changing everything from the way fans purchase tickets to the way they get to venues and experience events.
“To think that in 2006 in Turin there was no iPhone is almost incomprehensible given where we are today. So to try and imagine where we will be in 11 years is almost impossible,” Wasserman said on Tuesday. “The yearly iterations are hard to fathom let alone a decade iteration.
“From the mundane to maybe there is no more cash or credit cards to everyone having driverless cars and what does that do to the traffic flows.
“What does the virtual reality experience look like in 2028.
“There is really simple day-to-day stuff and then there is big idea whiz-bang stuff.
“Technology will evolve, that is one thing that is certain and our job will be to make sure we put the Olympics in LA in the right place in the right time.”
One thing LA2028 organizers have plenty of is time as cities are usually given a seven-year run up to hosting an Olympics. However, following the withdrawals of all but two candidates – Paris and LA – for the 2024 Olympics, officials decided to award both staging rights of successive Games.
But time can be both a blessing and a curse. For Wasserman, it is one of LA2028’s most valuable commodities.
“We have tons of it but I am certain we will never have enough,” said Wasserman. “We aspire to do great things with the Olympic Games in LA and so time is frankly our most valuable and more scarce resource, which sounds ironic given we have 11 years to plan and no venues to build.”
Driverless cars, virtual reality, new sports and new athletes, the 2028 Summer Games could have them all but Wasserman is emphatic one thing will not change — Olympic traditions.
While all that is around the Games may evolve, Wasserman said the history and traditions that anchor the Olympics and make them unique will remain intact.
“The Olympic traditions are what make the Olympic Games special and our job will be to make that moment emotional and special for the people in the stadium, for the city of Los Angeles, the United States and the whole world,” said Wasserman. “No technology, no developments are going to change that.”
(Editing by Frank Pingue and Pritha Sarkar)