LA28 launches PlayLA youth sports programme

09 Nov 2021
IOC News LA 2028 Legacy

LA28, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LA Parks launched PlayLA at the weekend, an initiative to provide affordable and accessible sports programmes to young people from the city. 

LA28 launches PlayLA youth sports programme  LA28

The initiative is made possible by the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which are investing USD 160 million to make sport more accessible to kids across Los Angeles ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028. This initiative is the single largest commitment to youth sports development in California.

"We seized an unprecedented opportunity during our bid for the Games to bring a historic community investment to Los Angeles, and the best part is we don’t have to wait until 2028 to see the benefits,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We’re delivering affordable access to youth sports programmes across our city right now – and we know how transformative that opportunity can be, especially for low-income families. I am grateful to LA28, the IOC and all of the partners that have helped make this incredible programme possible, and I can’t wait to get out there and see our young athletes in action."

Through the LA Parks Department, PlayLA will ensure every kid aged between 5 and 17 years old has an opportunity to participate in low-cost, or no-cost, quality sports programming in their neighbourhood.

“The LA28 Games are so much more than a sports event,” said LA28 Chairperson Casey Wasserman. “The Games are a platform for positive impact. We know we will deliver incredible Games for athletes and fans across Los Angeles and around the world, but if all we do is host an amazing event, we will have missed our greatest chance. Providing kids opportunities to be part of sport so they can realise their potential is just one of the many ways the Games can leave a lasting legacy for Los Angeles.”

LA28 launches PlayLA youth sports programme LA28

The City of Los Angeles is launching PlayLA with an initial USD 9.6 million grant from the LA28 Games to the LA Parks Department to subsidise participation fees throughout the school year for leagues, classes and clinics for sports including tennis, golf, basketball, football, judo and aquatics.

PlayLA will offer adaptive sports programmes for kids with physical disabilities – a first in the City's youth sports programming. For the inaugural season, PlayLA and the LA28 Organising Committee are exploring a variety of sports, including sitting volleyball, adaptive swimming, goalball, para equestrian, para surfing, wheelchair basketball, adaptive athletics, wheelchair tennis and paracanoe.

“It’s incredible to see the LA28 Games’ youth sport commitment coming to life throughout Los Angeles with the launch of this inspiring PlayLA sport programming for kids of all abilities,” said the IOC’s LA28 Coordination Commission Chair Nicole Hoevertsz from Aruba, who competed in artistic swimming at the Olympic Games Los Angeles 1984. “When Los Angeles won the bid to host the Games, the International Olympic Committee worked closely with LA28 to plan a USD 160 million investment in local youth sports leading up to the 2028 Games. This programme will give children the opportunity to enjoy the tremendous benefits that traditional and adaptive sports have to offer, and we congratulate all those involved in the delivery of PlayLA.”

“Access to sports at a young age made me who I am,” said LA28 Chief Athlete Officer and five-time Olympic medallist Janet Evans. “Sports are so important for our individual and collective physical and mental health. It doesn’t matter whether you’re competing for a gold medal or playing with your best friends – sport teaches us lessons we carry with us for life. And that should be available to everyone.”

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