GRIFFITH PARK—Griffith Park was considered to host golf for the 2024 Olympics, but has been moved to the Pacific Palisades’ Riviera Country Club instead. Los Angeles is competing against Paris and Budapest to host the 2024 Olympic Games.
The reason for moving golf away from Griffith Park comes after the Olympic Bid Committee LA24 consulted with the International Golf Federation. The club has already hosted the U.S. Open and PGA Championships and would have reduced costs to hosting.
“We were disappointed that the golf venue was moved to Riviera,” said Susan Swan, Chair of the Griffith Park Advisory Board. “We would’ve loved the improvements to the clubhouse and golf infrastructure.”
This is not the first time that 2024 Olympic plans have moved from Griffith Park. Olympic bid organizers wanted to feature off-road BMX and off-road bicycling at Griffith Park, but the Griffith Park Advisory Board was against it due to it violating municipal codes that prohibit biking on all trails in Griffith Park. A concern was also raised on damaging the ecosystem of the park, which contains sensitive flora, fauna and passive recreation for its visitors.
The Advisory Board stated that “off-road BMX/Off-Road Bicycling is illegal in all Los Angeles Municipal Parks, and the statements implying to the contrary in the Bid are inaccurate. The USOC application falsely claims that the ‘impact will be negligible’ as ‘it is a replacement of the existing velodrome.’ There is no velodrome in Griffith Park, nor has there ever been one.”
The Board pointed out the bid application contained “manufactured and misleading images and representations of fictitious events that have never taken place in the Park” and the bid was “sloppy, possibly fraudulent and beneath the dignity of our great city.”
The Griffith Park Advisory Board recommended that the Olympic bid committee find an appropriate venue for BMX and Off-Road Bicycling events. The revised Los Angeles bid now has a Long Beach cluster that would feature BMX racing among other sports.
“The possibility of Olympic biking events in Griffith Park, BMX and mountain biking, was a hasty fore-thought in the very earliest stage of the bidding process,” said Gerry Hans, President of Friends of Griffith Park. “That idea ended in January and Friends of Griffith Park was one of many who agreed neither biking events should be held in Griffith Park.”
Hans added that The Friends of Griffith Park were concerned about the park being considered for the golfing event, as well, but they warmed up to the idea when they started discussing how the impact of the games could be minimized. For example, shuttles were seen as a way to deal with crowds while not affecting the current users of the park.
“The Clubhouse needs repairs and upgrades, and hosting the Olympics there might have paved the way for getting that accomplished,” Hans said. “Golfing in Griffith Park has a rich history which pre-dates Griffith’s donation of park land to the city in 1896. It would be nice for Griffith Park to have some small part in Olympics 2024, but that likely won’t involve any major events being held there.”
It remains to be seen if Griffith Park would host an Olympic event if Los Angeles does win the bid to host the game eight years from now.