David Mendez

Redondo hopes to host Olympic ocean swim, water polo

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King Harbor, Redondo Beach’s proposed finish line for the 2028 LA Olympics Open Water Swimming event. Photo by Brad Jacobson

by David Mendez

The Redondo Beach City Council formed a subcommittee Tuesday night to explore hosting open water swimming and water polo during the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Council members Nils Nehrenheim and John Gran will sit on the subcommittee, which will work with city staff and the L.A. Organizing Committee.

The open water swimming event, Mayor Bill Brand envisioned, would take place between Malaga Cove and King Harbor, with fan seating along The Esplanade and Torrance Beach.

The proposed water polo venue is a more challenging proposition. Plans currently locate the venue on the AES power plant site. Though the City has expressed interest in purchasing the site in partnership with an as-yet-undetermined third-party, the land is still in AES’s hands.

Under Brand’s plan, the International Olympic Committee would pay to build the aquatic facility to host water polo events. After the games, the facility would then be converted to a public pool.

“I was here for the 1984 Olympics, and there were no festivities in the Beach Cities,” Brand said. “Being the Mayor of Redondo now, I thought, why not have Olympic events here?”

The idea grew from conversations between Brand and resident Ilya Klinger. A statistics analyst, Klinger approached then-councilman Brand with the idea of building a sports venue on the AES power plant site in 2015, shortly after Measure B – a plan to redevelop the site with housing and retail – died at the polls.

When Los Angeles was officially awarded the 2028 Games last September, Brand reached out to Klinger and real estate consultant Larry Kosmont to discuss logistics and prepare pitches to LA’s Olympic Organizing Committee.

Klinger provided the information – proposed floor plans, likely attendance ranges, schedules and seating – while Brand did the legwork. According to Councilman Nils Nehrenheim, Brand chased down LA Mayor Eric Garcetti after a metro-wide meeting to “get his nose in the tent.”

A subsequent conversation with Organizing Committee Chair Casey Wasserman provided good news, as “Redondo has excellent timing,” Brand recalled. Redondo, he learned, had the potential to host festivities and entertainment, as well as competitions.

Councilman Christian Horvath also proposed promoting King Harbor as the site of Olympic sailing events.

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