By Zia Zografos
An excited buzz filled the council chambers when Huntington Beach City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday night to adopt a resolution to host sports such as surfing, skateboarding, and BMX in the 2028 Summer Olympics, if the city is approved.
The city has been in discussion with Senior Vice President Shane Silsby of Michael Baker International, a global engineering company, to bring the Olympics to Huntington Beach. The company has already previously worked with the International Olympic Committee.
“Tonight is a public acknowledgement that the city will try to position itself to compete to land an event,” said the Public Works Director Sean Crumbey, at the meeting.
The council’s next focus is to capitalize on vital partnerships the city has with VisitHB and Vans. Visit HB has also initiated its own discussions with LA2028 to help in hosting these Olympic events.
The timing for official approval status remains to be announced.
“The deal is not done, but we are very excited about it. It has been years in the works talking about this,” said Mayor Kim Carr at the council meeting.
Donning the nickname “Surf City,” Carr attributed the popularity of Huntington Beach in regards to surfing and skateboarding to be the perfect fit to host. Just this week, the city will be hosting the world’s largest surf competition, the 2021 US Open of Surfing which is kicking off on Monday and ending Sunday.
Surfing and skateboarding are new additions to the Summer Olympics, as Tokyo proposed the inclusion of the two sports for the 2020 Olympic Games in 2016. Following the Paris Olympics in 2024, the Los Angeles area will only be the third city to host surfing and skateboarding competitions.
City council members have met with the International Olympic Committee in Tokyo, and also brought them to Huntington Beach to observe the premises.
As planning moves forward, sustainability and transportation will be the two major elements to prepare for.
“We have the sand, the waves, the hotels, but we also know it can get pretty crowded. And that kinda takes away from the experience,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Barbara Delgleize.
According to a staff report, Huntington Beach has the existing infrastructure to host other competitions besides surfing, like BMX and skateboarding. Although venues like the Vans off the Wall Skatepark on Center Avenue have hosted BMX tournaments as recently as 2019, the city is committed to building new facilities if necessary.
In fact, the city may build an entirely new skatepark for the Olympics. As discussed in the Sept. 7 council meeting, $750,000 of the city’s American Rescue Plan funds would potentially go toward building “The World Skate Skatepark.” President Joe Biden launched the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act in 2021 to aid local governments in pandemic relief.
According to the city’s ARPA spending plan review, this funding would be allocated to ensure that Huntington Beach can provide “Olympic-quality” facilities.
“If there is an opportunity to build a world-class skatepark like we saw in Tokyo, it is something that we know will be utilized year after year. I’m very supportive of this because by going after the Olympics, and building the kind of infrastructure in place for the Olympics, it will help us twenty, thirty years from now,” said Mayor Carr.
LA28 stated on its website that no new permanent infrastructures should be needed to host the Olympic Games in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Event organizers are focused on utilizing the already-existing infrastructure in Southern California to amplify the importance of sustainability.
Beyond the Olympics, the city declared they are also prepared to host the 2021 Ultimate Frisbee Beach World Championships, the NCAA Women’s Beach Volleyball Championships in 2025 and 2026, as well as a smattering of air shows and concerts on the beach.
Categories: Huntington Beach