Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The 2014 Olympics will either be held in Los Angeles or Paris. The bidding process and lobbying will culminate in a vote later this year.

The Los Angeles 2024 bid committee released a video of its proposed venues for the 2024 Los Angeles Olympic Games, potentially the third time in history that the IOC has selected Southern California for its quadrennial event (including 1932 and 1984).

The plans in Los Angeles have been praised far and wide while utilizing many existing facilities and sporting venues that have been used for professional, international and collegiate championships over the years.

But I was very surprised that the dark, still waters within the Long Beach breakwater were selected as the proposed site of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim,” observed Steven Munatones. “With many more scenic and much more iconic locations along the coastline from Laguna Beach to Malibu, the area within the breakwater is a place where relatively few locals go and very few locals swim.”

The area was selected because Long Beach is one of the five Olympics zones (Valley, Olympic & Paralympic Village, Downtown, South Bay and Long Beach). With plenty of parking and plenty of room for the other Olympic events, it is certainly a cost-effective area to host the marathon swim.

It is the same location as the open water swimming competition at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, but swimmers can barely see their hands in the ocean water because the water is usually murky. The Queen Mary and the buildings of downtown Long Beach can be seen in the distance, but it is really a non-descript portion of the Southern California shoreline.

The Surfrider Foundation described the area that does not benefit from natural circulation of the Pacific Ocean. “Since the breakwater was created, Long Beach’s waterfront has deteriorated. The natural flow of the ocean current and waves had previously assisted in keeping the beaches and waters in Long Beach free from stagnating pollutants. With the breakwater, urban runoff or stormwater from the Los Angeles River gets trapped within the harbor.

But without a doubt, the selection of the area and the layout of the marathon swim course combined with the other sports of the Long Beach Sports Park make complete logistical, spectator viewing, film production and economic sense.

Fans will be able to roam the wide sandy beach and enjoy not only the marathon swimming and triathlons, but also sailing, handball, BMX, and water polo competitions. So the selection of the oceanfront within the Long Beach breakwater is understandable from a macro perspective.”

So it looks like it will be either Long Beach or the Seine for Olympic marathon swimmers and fans in 2024.

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