STORY AND PHOTO BY ED MORAN
World Rowing announced that it is supporting the use of the Long Beach Marine Stadium as the venue for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and the shorting of the course from 2000-meters to 1500-meters.
The decision to accept the site of the 1932 Olympics as an alternative to a proposal to hold the rowing competition on Lake Perris, a reservoir 80-miles east of Los Angeles, was made Saturday and announced widely Thursday morning on social media. World Rowing concluded that using Lake Perris would place rowing a good distance from the center of most of the Olympic events in Los Angeles, make it difficult to attract fans who might not attend Olympic rowing, and require the construction of a satellite Olympic Village.
The proposal to accept the alternative bid to host rowing at the existing Marine Stadium has been under consideration since 2019 and has been favored by World Rowing because it increases exposure to the sport during the Games and eases costs to host Los Angeles.
The decision was announced by World Rowing at the 2021 Ordinary Congress, at which Jean-Christophe Rolland of France was re-elected for a third term as President. Rolland has been a strong proponent of hosting rowing in Long Beach.
“We have been working very hard with LA28 on the feasibility of an alternative to Lake Perris, which would be Long Beach and the Marine Stadium,” Rolland stated in a World Rowing Instagram post Thursday morning. “As you know the maximum possible length (at this venue) for racing is 1500m, and the connection to the ocean generates a tide.
“We have carried out studies to address the challenges, the WR Council has finalized its analysis and has concluded to accept the proposal from the LA28 organizing committee. They will now continue to work with the city of Long Beach and the relevant stakeholders on formal application and approval,” Rolland stated.
Marine Stadium was used as the site of the 1932 Olympic Games and was originally a full 2000-meter course. Development over the years included the construction of a bridge that was built on E 2nd Street to connect South Long Beach to Naples Island and spans the first 500-meters of the original course.
Other Marina developments also intrude onto the original course and narrowed the 2000-meter course. It is still used for 2000-meter racing, but the racing is limited to two and three-lanes.