San Diego abruptly withdraws as host of first World Beach Games

David Wharton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Olympics

It was only four years ago that San Diego beat out several major cities around the world for the right to host the inaugural World Beach Games, a new Olympic-style competition meant to be cost-effective and attractive to a new generation of fans.

On Thursday -- months before competition was set to begin -- news broke that the international sports event would have to move elsewhere.

Neither organizers in San Diego nor officials with the Association of National Olympic Committees, which created the games, could be reached for immediate comment. The U.S. Olympic Committee issued a brief statement about the change in plans, first reported by

"We fully support ANOC leadership's decision and their commitment to launching the World Beach Games in an environment that will ensure a robust experience for the world's greatest beach athletes," USOC spokesman Mark Jones said. "We look forward to being an engaged participant."

ANOC might turn to Dubai or another site that missed out during the initial bid process in 2015. Given the event's lack of pedigree or track record with corporate sponsors, the association might need to relocate to a country where the government would provide financial support.

The World Beach Games are scheduled for October and would feature more than a dozen sports -- including beach soccer, 3-on-3 basketball, water ski jumping and wakeboarding -- representing a more youthful alternative to the traditional Olympic Games.


After failing in an exploratory bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, San Diego had proposed staging the competition along a stretch of Mission Beach and on downtown piers.

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