The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced Tuesday that they will put forth a bid for the 2024 Olympic Games – but they have yet to nominate a specific city. The USOC Board of Directors met in Redwood City, California to view presentations from four short listed cities later unanimously approved a bid.
“The IOC members; the IOC leadership as well have been encouraging us to move forward with a bid and we’ve decided to do that today,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said.
USOC Chairman Larrry Probst told reporters “we want to make a very thoughtful decision and the best possible decision and the next step of this process is we’re going to try to get the board together again in the early part of January.”
“Hopefully in the early part of next year we will reach the final decision about the city we will pick to move forward as our candidate city.”
Boston, Los Angeles, Washington and San Francisco are the current eligible cities on a short list that were selected by the USOC in June.
— US Olympic Team (@USOlympic) December 16, 2014
“It’s a four-way tie,” Blackmun said.
“We had great presentations – what we didn’t have was an opportunity to really explore what everybody felt about the presentations; what they thought the strengths and the weaknesses were.”
Blackmun led an informal, collaborative process to select an applicant for the 2024 Olympic Games that started with an invitation to several cities. The initial discussions happened under a veil of secrecy but as the results were revealed the four cities began to campaign.
“Each of the cities is really trying to use the Olympic Games as a catalyst for things that are going to be in the best interests of the cities and the people that live there long-term,” Blackmun said
“We want to think about this as America’s bid, not just that particular city, and hope we can energize the country.” Probst explained.
Citing IOC rules that prohibit negative discussion about opposing cities, Blackmun commented non-specifically about public opposition.
“The bid has to evolve, and has to change,” he said.
“In fairness … we have asked the cities to lay low, and they have done that.”
Boston’s bid has been exposed to well-organize opposition who believe dollars would be better spent elsewhere and that the bid should be more transparent. But contrary to what Blackmun suggested, Boston 2024 has countered with an aggressive social media and marketing campaign.
Probst made it clear too that efficiency and sustainability will be an important selection criteria.
“Exisiting venues are a plus, for sure,” he said.
That will give an advantage to Los Angeles where there’s a mix of ready-built venues available along with legacy from prior Games in 1984 and 1932.
While the USOC may believe that its America’s turn, the bid may need to defeat several international opponents, some with their own sense of entitlement. Paris has bid three times recently without success and Istanbul five times in the last six cycles. A winning South African bid would host the Games for the first time in its continent – a proposition that worked well when Rio bid for 2016. Also in the mix could be Doha, Baku, Budapest – and already declared Rome and either Hamburg or Berlin from Germany.
The IOC membership will vote for a host at the 130th IOC Session in lima Peru in 2017. The application deadline is September 15, 2015.