LA28 Publishes Venue Updates for Olympics

Galway Downs’ main arena boasts unique spectator seating and a backdrop of flags representing an international array of competitors. Photo by Tina Fitch Photography.

The organizing team behind the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles has released new updates to their proposed venues for competition, putting these updates forward for approval by the City of Los Angeles next. The first venue proposal was created in 2017, and in the intervening years more options and developments have become available to evolve the original proposal.

Looking at the equestrian sports, LA28 originally identified the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area as the prospective host site for equestrian and para-equestrian competition, the latest update has revealed that “an exceptional existing facility in Temecula, CA, that is the only such facility in Southern California large enough to accommodate all required disciplines in one location” has now been designated as the host venue for the upcoming Games. This, of course, leads us to Galway Downs, which currently hosts competitions across disciplines, including CCI4*-L level eventing.

“LA28 submitted these updated venue assignments to the City of Los Angeles, which must approve competitions that move outside of the city’s boundaries from the venue plan submitted during the bid,” the press release put out by the committee today states. This means that the decision is not 100% final yet, but should it be approved that would allocate the equestrian and para-equestrian sports to Galway Downs. You can view the full submission put forward to the City of Los Angeles here.

The equestrian-oriented portion of the submission reads as follows:

“In the 2028 Venue Plan, the Equestrian venue is Galway Downs in Temecula, CA. LA28 considered many possible venues, but the IOC requirement that all three Equestrian disciplines (Jumping, Dressage, Eventing) be organized within the same site rendered many venues unfit, particularly for the Cross Country component of Eventing. One of the venues examined was the Hansen Dam Horse Park in Lake View Terrace; however, it lacks adequate space and facilities to accommodate the Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian requirements. Additionally, the current operation and resident horses would need to be displaced throughout the build and Games period given restrictive quarantine and build requirements. The IOC requirement that all three Equestrian disciplines be delivered on the same site to manage the cost and
complexity of the Equestrian program rules out Hansen Dam.

The only existing venue that can accommodate the requirements of Equestrian, while also reducing the cost and complexity of delivery, is Galway Downs.

These venue adjustments result in an estimated net benefit of +$26 million, primarily driven by the significant reduction in estimated venue infrastructure expense.

In comparison to building an entirely temporary facility at Sepulveda Dam, the existing facilities at Galway Downs can accommodate Equestrian at a much lower cost, and its operator is experienced in hosting large events.”

“All proposed venue changes have been assessed in consultation with each respective International Federation,” the statement continues. “The IOC Executive Board has approved these venue assignments for Olympic sports, pending approval from the City of Los Angeles. Changes to venues for Paralympic sports will require approval from the IPC Governing Board in the future.”

“The plan to relocate equestrian competitions to the existing Equestrian Center in Temecula is a positive development for the sport and the equestrian community,” FEI President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Ingmar De Vos said.

“The FEI has worked closely with the Organizing Committee to evaluate and choose a venue capable of hosting all equestrian and para equestrian events with the aim of managing the overall costs and complexity.

“Importantly, the venue can also accommodate Eventing competitions which was a condition of the IOC Executive Board to include this discipline in the program of the LA28 Olympic Games. The reasoning behind the venue change also fits well with equestrian sport’s sustainability ideals and aims, and will create lasting legacies for the local community. With this important announcement we can now start working with LA28 on the field-of-play design and organization of the equestrian competitions.”

“We are thrilled a venue has been chosen that can host all the equestrian events,” CEO of the United States Equestrian Federation Bill Moroney said.

“The announcement of the equestrian venue aligns with the IOC requirement stating all equestrian events must be held at the same location. The Equestrian Center for the LA28 Games in Temecula will be a world class international experience on the field of play for the athletes, horses, and their support teams as well as for fans and spectators alike.

“US Equestrian is proud to support equestrian sport’s inclusion in the Olympic and Paralympic programmes for 2028 and is eager to work with the FEI, LA28 Organising Committee, and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee to bring an extraordinary event to the USA. The LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games hold immense potential to elevate the visibility and popularity of our sport nationwide.”

There is no date or timeline given for the approval process by the city, but as soon as we have more confirmed details and official information on the proposed venue updates, we’ll keep you in the loop. As we continue to focus on the Games happening in Paris next month, we’ll eagerly be awaiting more news from a “home” Olympics coming next.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on June 27 with quotes from FEI president and IOC committee member Ingmar De Vos, as well as US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney.

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