Marathon Swimmers Can Show Off The Beauty Of Southern California At The 2028 Los Angeles Olympics
Every week, Janice Hahn goes to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in Downtown Los Angeles. The venue was named after her father, a long-time prominent politicians whose giant shoes she has more than adequately filled.
Hahn is one of five women among the all-female Los Angeles County supervisors. Hilda Solis represents District 1, Holly Mitchell represents District 2, Sheila Kuehl represents District 3, Hahn represents District 4, and Kathryn Barger represents District 5. The five supervisors are responsible for the largest and most complex county government in the USA.
The Los Angeles County budget is US$36 billion, ranking in the top 10 states in the USA. The Los Angeles County population is greater than that of 41 individual U.S. states with an annual GDP of more than US$1 trillion in an area greater than the combined area of Delaware and Rhode Island.
Simply put, the County Supervisors hold significant political power and are in a position of great influence – for both the governance of daily life and major events like the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games.
During the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, the Downtown Sports Park will host pool swimming, artistic swimming, diving, football, badminton, road cycling, boxing, fencing, taekwondo, weightlifting, soccer, and basketball as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Canoe slalom, equestrian and shooting will be held at the Valley Sports Park. Rugby, modern pentathlon, tennis, field hockey, track cycling will be held at the South Bay Sports Park while BMX racing, water polo, triathlon, marathon swimming, handball and sailing will be held in the Long Beach Sports Park [see areas below].
Downtown Long Beach is the chosen sight of the 10 km marathon swim. It is scheduled to be a rectangular course behind the Long Beach Breakwater. The Surfrider Foundation documented its history, “The Long Beach Breakwater was originally put in to support military purposes, but with the closure of the U.S. Navy base in 1997, the Long Beach Breakwater does not serve its original purpose. Prior to the breakwater’s completion in 1949, the natural flow of ocean currents and waves assisted in keeping the beaches and waters in Long Beach free from stagnating pollutants.
Before the LB Breakwater, the natural flow of ocean currents and waves assisted in keeping the beaches and waters in Long Beach free from stagnating pollutants. Long Beach was known as the Waikiki of Southern California where the first national surfing championship contest in 1939.”
“Long Beach no longer resembles Oahu in any way. The water is brown and murky. I always believed – and have long hoped – that future Olympic Games can show off the most dramatic and impressive marine landscape of an Olympic host city,” says Steven Munatones. “When the Serpentine in Hyde Park was the site of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2012 London Olympics, the scenery was beautiful. The Serpentine was ringed by tens of thousands of fans within central London. It also made complete sense that the marathon swim at the 2016 Rio Olympics was held at Copacabana Beach, the most famous beachfront in South America. A point-to-point marathon swim course in the Seine makes total sense and will be able to show off the majesty of Paris.
To be honest, I think a point-to-point course between the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Redondo Beach would show off the beauty of the Southern California coast the best. The marathon swimmers would encounter dolphins and giant kelp beds as they swam in the clear, clean Pacific Ocean peering down to the navy blue depths.
As they breathe to the left, they can see Catalina Island. As they breathe to the right, they will see the dramatic sea cliffs that line the course. As they sight forward, they can see Malibu in the distance. The gentle ocean swells would present roughwater conditions that are more representative of traditional open water swimming, especially compared to a flat-water, protected-by-a-breakwater, rectangular course.
And I just feel that a point-to-point course is more in line with our sport. I understand how and why the four-loop rectangular course was adopted by the IOC and FINA as a cost-cutting, easier-to-implement means to get marathon swimming into the Olympics at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But if the County of Los Angeles is going to spend billions of its money on presenting the Olympics to the world, I feel it is optimal and wise to showcase the best of Southern California. For anyone who has swum, surfed, kayaked, paddle boarded, fished, scuba dived or sailed off the coast of Palos Verdes and Redondo Beach, they will understand how beautiful and dramatic the marine environment is.
Additional with all the promenades, boardwalks, piers and walking and biking paths along the alternative course, there would be potentially tens of thousands of spectators following the swimmers.
What a spectacle the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim that could be for the city and county of Los Angeles. The marathon swimmers could help showcase the Southern California shoreline like no other sport. Its venue speaks of California.
Organizers could use the same infrastructure at the Long Beach Sports Park for the pre-race technical meeting and athlete introduction as well as the post-race awards ceremony and press conference. The only difference is that the 25 athletes would board a boat and then be transported to the start. Imagine the cameras focused on 25 athletes sitting in a boat, tense due to the magnitude of their upcoming race. With the sun shining and wind blowing, with Catalina Island in the background, with the dramatic cliffs of Palos Verdes in the foreground, passing by the Queen Mary and California shoreline, the pre-race imagery would be outstanding.
Then, the athletes would jump from the point at the designated offshore point where migratory whales pass by and dolphins swim daily, and race 10 kilometers to the finish in Redondo Beach. It would be – will be – magnificent showcase of the sport and the coastal beauty of Southern California.
The County Supervisors could get it done. In particular, under the leadership and vision of Supervisor Hahn, it would showcase her jurisdiction in a unique and unforgettable manner. Her jurisdiction [shown above] is nearly entirely coastal and ranges from Long Beach to Marina del Rey.”
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