The U.S. Olympic Committee said it will bypass the chance to host the 2022 Winter Games in favor of forming a panel of board members to recommend a bid strategy for the 2024 and 2026 Olympics.
The U.S. last hosted the Summer Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta and the Winter Olympics in 2002 in Salt Lake City.
“Hosting the games is very important to us,” USOC Chief Executive Scott Blackmun said yesterday on a conference call. “I’d be very surprised if we didn’t submit a bid for 2024 or 2026, but between those two we haven’t made any decisions whatsoever.”
The USOC and the International Olympic Committee agreed in May on a revenue-sharing agreement that ends discord between the two bodies that hampered previous U.S. bids. The USOC had said that it wouldn’t submit another bid until the dispute was resolved, having previously lost this month’s Summer Games to London and the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.
Denver; Salt Lake City; Bozeman, Montana; and the Reno-Lake Tahoe area of Nevada and California had indicated an interest in pursuing the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Following the second half of their board meeting yesterday, USOC officials unanimously voted not to pursue the 2022 Winter Games. Blackmun said focusing instead on the 2024 Olympics and the 2026 Winter Games would give the USOC time to form partnerships with federal, state and local governments, as well as other international sports organizations.
“It wasn’t about not bidding for 2022 as much as it was about what strategy gives us our best chance for submitting a winning bid,” Blackmun said. “We concluded that 2024 and 2026 did that. That would allow us to put our best foot forward.”
The USOC said its subcommittee will make a report on the strategy and timeline for future bids at a meeting in December.
Under the revenue-sharing agreement with the IOC, the USOC will contribute toward the cost of staging the games and take a reduction in future revenue growth from television and sponsorship rights. The two sides also settled on procedures for broadcast-rights negotiations and the use of historic television footage.
This year’s Olympics start July 27, when London will become the first three-time host after staging the games in 1908 and 1948. New York unsuccessfully bid for the 2012 Games, which were awarded in 2005. The USOC’s bid to host the 2016 Games ended when Chicago was eliminated in the first round of voting in 2009.