The head of the group attempting to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles says he has a much better supporter in Donald Trump than he had in Barack Obama.
Gene Sykes, head of LA2024, spoke on Thursday at the Montgomery Conference in Santa Monica, during which he painted a picture of President Trump’s involvement in the Olympic bidding process that greatly contrasts with the picture presented by the media and other sports elites.
“The Donald Trump effect, for us, is a double-edged sword,” Sykes said, according to KPCC. Sykes then went on to explain how, despite President Trump’s strong stances on immigration and other issues which have bothered some international Olympic officials, Donald Trump has been most valuable in gaining support for the Los Angeles bid.
Sykes then pointed out how Trump’s efforts differ from those of his predecessor. After remarking about how Obama’s interest in the Olympics waned after an attempt to win the games for Chicago in 2016 failed, Sykes said of Obama, “He never went to an Olympic games, never met with the IOC [International Olympic Committee] leadership, never talked to them by phone, and showed sort of a disregard and that was deeply frustrating to the leaders of the IOC.”
Sykes then spoke about a situation that involved some Iranian archers who found themselves turned back at the airport in Las Vegas during President Trump’s first immigration ban. Specifically, Sykes mentioned how the President Trump intervened, “As soon as they learned they had created a problem for us they said ‘We’ll help you. We’ll solve the problem.’ ” They’ve set up a team in the White House to help us.”
Though Sykes made no mistake about the obstacles ahead with some Olympic Committee members who have serious issues with Trump, Sykes said, “The President presents an image which is a challenging image for some of these voters. They don’t like the anti-immigrant stance. They don’t like the presumed anti-Muslim rhetoric. All that is alarming to them. We’ve heard it. We continue to hear it. It’s an issue.”
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn