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June 26, 2013

Pittsburgh won't bid on Olympics

PITTSBURGH — If it had a velodrome, double the hotel capacity, and room for about 16,500 athletes, Pittsburgh could have been a contender.

But Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl confirmed the city would not be submitting a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

In February, Pittsburgh was one of 35 cities across the U.S. to receive an invitation to make a pitch.

“Initially, there as a lot of excitement at the prospect,” said mayoral spokeswoman Marissa Doyle, who acknowledged the city was a long-shot candidate. “Once we looked into it a little further, it was clear there was not enough support.”

It wasn’t just support that the Steel City lacked. In order to host the Summer Games, the region likely would have had to build much of the supporting infrastructure.

That includes things like a tennis stadium, a suitable aquatics facility, an Olympic Village for thousands of athletes and several more hotels. The USOC put the price tag on hosting the games at around $3 billion. (Chicago, in its bid for the 2016 games, planned to spend $5 billion.)

Doyle emphasized the city has played host to other large, international events, most notably the Group of 20 Summit in 2009, which brought President Barack Obama and world leaders to the Steel City.

But, she said, “the requirements of the Olympics are very different.”

The USOC will review bids in about two years and decide which U.S. city to recommend to to the International Olympic Committee.

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