U.S. to Return to Olympic Bidding With Candidate for 2024 Games

The U.S. will bid for the 2024 Olympics as it seeks to host the Summer Games for a first time in 28 years.

Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston yesterday made presentations in Redwood City, California, to the board of the U.S. Olympic Committee, which voted unanimously to put forward a candidate to the International Olympic Committee. Each city’s plan will be discussed at a board meeting next month with the aim of choosing a representative before the end of January, USOC Chairman Larry Probst told reporters.

“It’s a four-way tie,” Probst said on a conference call. “We’re going to take our time, we’re going to go through a very deliberate and thoughtful process, and we’re going to pick the city that we think has the best chance of winning.”

The U.S. hasn’t hosted an Olympics since Salt Lake City staged the 2002 Winter Games. The event was overshadowed by a vote-selling scandal, which led to 10 IOC members being expelled or resigning. The last time the Summer Games took place in the U.S. was 1996, in Atlanta.

The U.S. didn’t put forward a candidate for the 2020 games, which will take place in Tokyo, after New York and Chicago finished fourth in voting for the 2012 and 2016 games. Rio de Janeiro was picked for 2016, even after U.S. President Barack Obama flew in at the last minute to try to boost Chicago’s pitch.

IOC Encouragement

The absence of a U.S. candidate last time has been noted by the 105 voting members of the IOC, Probst said.

“All across the board, the IOC membership -- and the IOC leadership as well -- has been encouraging us to move forward with a bid,” Probst said.

The deadline for applications is Sept. 15 and the IOC will select a shortlist by May 2016. The 2024 host will be chosen around September 2017, the IOC said Dec. 6. The winner will also stage the Paralympic Games.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said yesterday his country would bid for the 2024 games. Rome, which withdrew its pitch for the 2020 games citing costs, may be joined in bidding by 1924 venue Paris and Hamburg or 1936 host Berlin, according to the Boston Globe.

Last week, the full membership of the IOC backed the 40-point plan of President Thomas Bach to reduce the cost of bidding and hosting the games by opening up the possibility of multicity and countrywide bids.

The U.S. is unlikely to submit a multicity bid, Probst said.

Bach, a former German fencer, wants to modernize the games after bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics was reduced to two candidates. Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, remain after six cities dropped out because of a lack of local support and concern over the soaring price tag.

This year’s Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, cost a record $51 billion, up from a pledge of $12 billion in 2007.

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