By Zia Zografos
An excited buzz filled the boardroom when Huntington Beach City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday night to pass a resolution to welcome sports such as surfing, skateboarding and BMX to the Summer Olympics in 2028, if the city is approved.
The city has been in talks with Senior Vice President Shane Silsby of Michael Baker International, a global engineering company, to bring the Olympics to Huntington Beach. The company has previously worked with the International Olympic Committee.
“Tonight is public recognition that the city will try to position itself to compete for an event,” Public Works Director Sean Crumbey said at the meeting.
The council’s next goal is to capitalize on the vital partnerships the city has with VisitHB and Vans. Visit HB has also started its own discussions with LA2028 to help host these Olympic events.
The timeline for official approval status remains to be announced.
“The deal is not done, but we are very excited about it. We’ve been working on this for years, ”Mayor Kim Carr said at the council meeting.
Carrying the nickname “Surf City,” Carr attributed Huntington Beach’s popularity for surfing and skateboarding as the perfect place to host. This week alone, the city will host the biggest surfing competition in the world, the 2021 US Open of Surfing which starts on Monday and ends on Sunday.
Surfing and skateboarding are new additions to the Summer Olympics, as Tokyo proposed the inclusion of both sports for the 2020 Olympics in 2016. After the Paris Olympics in 2024, the Los Angeles area does not will be the third city to host surfing and skateboarding. competitions.
City council members met with the International Olympic Committee in Tokyo and also took them to Huntington Beach to observe the scene.
As planning progresses, sustainability and transportation will be the two main things to prepare for.
“We have the sand, the waves, the hotels, but we also know it can get very crowded. And that takes away a bit of 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, such as BMX and skateboarding. Although venues like the Vans off the Wall Skatepark on Center Avenue hosted BMX tournaments as recently as 2019, the city has committed to building new facilities if needed.
In fact, the city could build a whole new skatepark for the Olympics. As discussed at the September 7 council meeting, $ 750,000 of the city’s US bailout funds would potentially go toward the construction of the “World Skate Skatepark”. President Joe Biden launched the $ 1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act in 2021 to help local governments fight the pandemic.
According to the review of the city’s ARPA spending plan, this funding would be allocated to ensure that Huntington Beach can provide “Olympic-grade” facilities.
“If there’s an opportunity to build a world-class skatepark like we’ve seen in Tokyo, it’s something that we know is used year after year. I’m very supportive of that because by going after the Olympics and building the kind of infrastructure that is in place for the Olympics, it will help us in twenty or thirty years, ”said Mayor Carr.
LA28 said on its website that no new permanent infrastructure should be needed to host the Olympics in the Los Angeles metro area. Event planners are focused on using existing infrastructure in Southern California to amplify the importance of sustainability.
Beyond the Olympics, the city has said it is also ready to host the 2021 World Ultimate Frisbee Beach Championships, the NCAA Women’s Beach Volleyball Championships in 2025 and 2026, as well as a handful air shows and concerts on the beach.