The Los Angeles City Council has formally accepted $7.7 million in funding from the Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the 2028 Olympics to provide subsidized coaching, mentoring and instruction for youth at Department of Recreation and Parks centers during the next fiscal year, which begins Thursday.
"The Youth Sports Program (Partnership) is particularly focused on underserved communities, including communities of color. A new generation of Angelenos will grow up with greater access to sports and recreational programming that will keep them active and healthy throughout their lives,'' councilman Mitch O'Farrell told the local Fox affiliate.
The funding comes as part of L.A.’s agreement to be a host city in 2028. The committee agreed to pay up to $160 million to support local youth sports programs. The program aims to reduce financial barriers for children to participate in sports and fitness programming.
"Sport has the power to transcend,'' L.A. 2028 Chief Athlete Officer Janet Evans, who won four swimming gold medals at the 1988 and the 1992 Olympics, said in a statement on L.A. 2028's website.
"There's no question sport changed the trajectory of my life, but you don't have to compete on an international stage to recognize the social, emotional and physical benefits sports gives us, teaching lessons in teamwork, competition and perseverance,'' she said. "One of the greatest legacies the Games can provide is sharing the power of sport across local communities.''
During the previous fiscal year, the L.A. 2028 Committee funded the program with $2.48 million, but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted programs and the department only spent $555,000. The remaining $1.92 million was included for use in the 2021-22 project plan.
The total $9.635 million allocated for the 2021-22 Youth Sports Program project plan includes:
- $5.28 million to support recreational leagues and classes at 81 pre-qualified sites and 42 non-pre-qualified sites;
- $1.75 million to support aquatics swim classes at 35 pre-qualified aquatic sites and 18 non-pre-qualified aquatic sites;
- $174,720 to support track and field at 15 facilities citywide;
- $224,200 to support judo;
- $140,400 to support tennis, in partnership with the United States Tennis Association;
- $38,980 to support golf;
- $200,000 to support marathon training; and
- $571,333 to support adaptive sports.