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USOC Board: We're Bidding For 2024

By Justin A. Rice | Dec. 16, 2014, 8:47 p.m. (ET)

(L-R) United States Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun answer questions from the media during the United States Olympic Committee Media Summit 2012 at Hilton Anatole on May 13, 2012 in Dallas.

The United States will bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Whether the bid city is Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Washington, D.C., however, is yet to be determined.

Following one-hour pitches (40-minute presentations, followed by 20 minutes for Q&A) from the four cities Tuesday in Redwood City, California, the United States Olympic Committee announced it would indeed put forth a bid for the 2024 summer Games. The International Olympic Committee’s executive board will determine finalists in the spring of 2016, and the full IOC will vote on the host city in September 2017.

For whichever city is eventually chosen — the formal application isn’t due until September but a decision is expected as soon as January — USOC officials said they are not only conscious of potential cost overruns of hosting the event but also that the Games should fit into the long-term infrastructural vision of the host city.

“Each city had very different presentations, and each city had very excellent presentations,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said during a press conference after the meeting. “We didn’t start with a request that the city describe its bid. We asked the city to describe its vision for 10, 20, 30 years, and how the Olympics will fit in and accelerate those plans.

“I think everyone is aware of the cost associated with recent Games, and this is one way to make sure there’s a tangible benefit that goes along with the cost of hosting those Games.”

The costs associated with hosting the Games have become a focal point in recent years. Although the IOC decided last week to allow future Olympic bid cities to stage events in neighboring countries, USOC officials said they would likely submit a one-city bid.

In another cost-saving measure, the IOC said it would encourage temporary facilities rather than building permanent structures that are difficult to repurpose after the Games. But USOC Chairman Larry Probst did say that having existing stadiums in place was an advantage since it cuts down on costs.

He did note, however, that no one city is a frontrunner at this point.

“The board had the opportunity today to listen to each of the four presentations and listen to an extensive question and answer period,” said Probst, noting that not all board members were in attendance Tuesday and they would schedule a meeting with the entire board early next month.

“I don’t think it’s as much learning more (about each city) as we need to have further discussions about the pros and cons of each individual city.”

The United States last hosted the Winter Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City, but the most recent summer Games in the United States were in 1996 in Atlanta. Chicago was a finalist to host the 2016 Games and New York City the 2012 Games, but those were awarded to Rio de Janeiro and London, respectively.

Blackmun said those failed bids not only generated enthusiasm around the United States but they also helped New York and Chicago solidify a vision for their futures. And that’s why USOC officials are keeping long-term goals in mind when they consider the four contenders for a 2024 bid.

While community support is important for a successful bid, Blackmun also said the fact that Boston has seen more opposition to its bid than other cities would not work against it.

“In this case some cities do have more opposition than others, but in all fairness to those cities we asked them to lay low and they’ve done that,” he said.

He said opposition should decline now that cities will be free to hold more public meetings on their bids.

“Once we pick a city and the city has more freedom (to outline details of its bid), I think you’ll see opposition decline,” he said. “You'll see that each bid is fiscally responsible.”

In addition to the Atlanta Games in 1996, the United States also hosted the 1904 Games in St. Louis and the 1932 and ’84 Games in Los Angeles.

“I think there’s a feeling amongst the (IOC) members that the Games have been away from the United States for a long time,” Probst said, “and summer 2024 is a time we have an opportunity to host the games successfully.”

Justin A. Rice is a Boston-based freelance writer who covers sports and local news. He has been a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org since 2010 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.