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USOC keeps hosting idea alive

Fri., Dec. 21, 2012

The U.S. Olympic Committee will hold meetings with cities interested in bidding for a future Olympics and is promising to streamline the domestic selection process if the federation does, in fact, decide to try to host the Games in 2024 or 2026.

At its quarterly meeting Thursday, the USOC board voted to move forward in exploring a possible bid but stopped short of committing to one. The 2024 bidding process doesn’t begin in earnest until 2015.

“We’re just trying to get smarter and see which cities we might want to have serious discussions with,” CEO Scott Blackmun said. “We’re going to view 2013 as more informational, if you will. We’ll be smarter at the end of the year than we are in the beginning. But we don’t expect to make substantive announcements in 2013.”

Los Angeles, Dallas and Tulsa are among the cities that have expressed interest in hosting the 2024 Games. New York, Chicago and San Francisco have either bid, or expressed interest in bidding in the past and could also get in the mix. Salt Lake City, Denver and Reno, Nev., are among those that have talked about hosting a Winter Olympics.

The United States hasn’t hosted the Olympics since 2002, when the Winter Games were in Salt Lake City. Its last bid came for the 2016 Summer Games and the bid city, Chicago, lost out.

Since then, the U.S. has tried to shore up its standing in the international Olympic community. Resolving its long feud with the International Olympic Committee over revenue sharing has been the key component to that.

Still, if the USOC is going to make another run at the Olympics, the leadership wants some significant changes in the process before it ever leaves U.S. borders. It doesn’t want a drawn-out domestic bidding phase, the way it worked for the 2016 bid. That was designed to give American cities a taste of what the international bid process would feel like, but it ended up costing the eventual “winner,” Chicago, around $10 million before it even got in the mix with Tokyo, Madrid and the eventual winner, Rio de Janeiro.

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