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  • U.S. Cities Invited to Talk Olympics


    02/19/13

    (ATR) Letters sent to the mayors of 35 U.S. cities ask whether there’s an interest in making a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
    USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)

    “As you may know, the United States Olympic Committee is currently considering a bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As we explore this exciting possibility, we are actively seeking to gauge the interest of U.S. cities that may have the ability to host an event with the scope and scale of the Olympic Games. To that end, we are reaching out to cities that have previously expressed an interest in bidding as well as the cities in the largest 25 U.S. markets,” writes USOC CEO Scott Blackmun.

    The two-page letter outlines some of the broad requirements for hotels, transport, workforce and a $3 billion budget for an organizing committee. These are standards any of the cities that raise their hands would presumably need to meet from square one.

    “Based on expected International Olympic Committee deadlines, we have 2+ years to decide whether we want to submit a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. We would like to begin having discussions with interested cities about possible bid themes as well as the infrastructure, financial resources and other assets that are required to host the Games,” says the letter without setting any deadline for expressions of interest.

    There are mayoral elections this year in a number of the cities that probably need to be settled before some cities could enter into discussions.

    The letter is the latest step in the deliberate process the USOC is taking to launch a new Olympic bid after two consecutive failures for the Summer Games, 2012 and 2016.

    The USOC opted out of 2020 and 2022, leaving 2024 as the first option to consider. While no cities have yet to declare an active interest in bidding for 2024, at least three cities want to bid for the Winter Games: Salt Lake City, Reno/Tahoe and Denver.

    USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky tells Around the Rings that the letters were sent to the 25 biggest U.S. cities as well as any others that have mentioned an interest in hosting the Games.
    Chicago 2016 unveils its logo for the candidature phase of bidding. (ATR)

    The list, of course, includes past U.S. hosts Atlanta, Los Angeles and St. Louis, as well as New York and Chicago, the last two bid cities.

    “Our objective in this process is to identify a partner city that can work with us to present a compelling bid to the IOC and that has the right alignment of political, business and community leadership. We are seeking a partner that understands the value of the Olympic Games and the legacy that can be created not only for their community, but for our country,” writes Blackmun.

    He outlined the requirements the USOC is seeking:

    • 45,000 hotel rooms.
    • An Olympic Village that sleeps 16,500 and has a 5,000-person dining hall.
    • Operations space for over 15,000 media and broadcasters.
    • An international airport that can handle thousands of international travelers per day.
    • Public transportation service to venues.
    • Roadway closures to allow exclusive use for Games-related transportation.
    • A workforce of up to 200,000.

    Blackmun’s letter pledges to make the process of selecting a U.S. nominee less costly and complicated.

    “Moving forward, we are going to select our Applicant City through a thoughtful but more efficient process. The first step in that process is to have discussions with interested cities.”

    Blackmun makes no promises of victory for whichever city is chosen, but does remind the cities of the benefits that could accrue to an Olympic host city.

    “While the Games require a formidable commitment, they also provide an unparalleled opportunity for a city to evolve and grow. The Games have had a transformative impact on a number of host cities, including Barcelona, Beijing and London. They enable the creation and implementation of a new vision and provide a powerful rallying point for progress,” says Blackmun.

    Sandusky says the letter is not a commitment to bid for 2024.

    The IOC will select from three cities in September for the 2020 Games. Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo are the bidders. The outcome of that vote will have an impact on the field for 2024, the contest for which won’t get underway until 2015, with the vote set for 2017.

    Among the cities mentioned for 2024 are Paris, St. Petersburg, Doha, Dubai, Toronto, Nairobi and possibly a South African entry.

    Click here to see the list of cities sent the letter by the USOC.

    Reported by Ed Hula

    For general comments or questions, click here.

    20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.