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LA 2028 proposes Olympic, Paralympic venue changes with swimming in NFL stadium

Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic organizers proposed venue and schedule plan changes for the Games, including holding swimming in an NFL stadium for the first time in Olympic history.

LA28 proposes holding Olympic swimming inside SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, the home of the Rams and Chargers. It would be the largest Olympic swimming venue capacity in history with 38,000 seats.

Olympic swimming had been slated to take place in a temporary stadium built on Dedeaux Field, which is USC’s baseball stadium. That site will no longer be available for the 2028 Games due to upgrades.

Gymnastics would move from the Forum in Inglewood to Arena, which is home to the Los Angeles Lakers, Sparks and Kings.

Basketball would be held at Intuit Dome in Inglewood, which will be the new home of the Clippers starting next season.

Track and field will remain at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which also held track and field at the LA Games in 1932 and 1984.

In all, the proposed changes would save more than $150 million. The City of Los Angeles must still approve changes that move events outside of the city’s boundaries from the previous venue plan.

“LA28’s venue moves and reliance on existing stadiums makes the Games more sustainable; enhances the field of play and warm up areas for athletes; improves seating, hospitality, services and capacity for more fans; places competitions in the hands of experienced venue operators and staff to ensure smooth delivery and operations; and provides legacy opportunities in the City of Los Angeles,” according to a press release.

All proposed venue changes were assessed in consultation with respective international sports federations, such as World Aquatics for swimming. The International Olympic Committee Executive Board approved venue assignments for Olympic sports.

Changes to Paralympic sports venues, including moving swimming from Dedeaux Field to Long Beach, must be approved by the International Paralympic Committee Governing Board.

The LA28 venue announcement Friday came during the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, which are being held in an NFL venue for the first time at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The trials have drawn record crowds, surpassing 20,000.

SoFi Stadium and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will still co-host 2028 Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as previously planned.

To accommodate venue changes, swimming will shift from the first week to the second week of the Games in the Olympic schedule. Track and field will move from the second week to the first week. World Aquatics and World Athletics approve and support the schedule change.

Additionally, softball and canoe slalom will be held in existing venues in Oklahoma City instead of adding construction projects to build temporary venues in Southern California.

“While Southern California has more professional and collegiate sports venues than any area in the United States, there is no canoe slalom venue that exists locally (or anywhere in the Western U.S.), and the largest softball venue in Southern California seats fewer than 2,000 people, which does not meet the expected spectator demand for softball at the Olympic Games,” according to LA28.

Oklahoma City hosted one leg of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Canoe Slalom Trials at its Riversport venue.

For softball, Devon Park in Oklahoma City is the annual host of the NCAA Women’s College World Series. Softball was added to the 2028 Olympic program last October, along with baseball, cricket, flag football, lacrosse and squash.

It is common for some Olympic competitions to be held outside of the main host area.

For the 1984 LA Games, some preliminary soccer matches were held in Boston and Annapolis, Maryland. In 1996, softball was held in Columbus, Georgia, which is 100 miles southwest of Atlanta. For this summer’s Paris Games, surfing will be in Tahiti and sailing in Marseille.