The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

February 20, 2013

Olympics looking for interest from Pa. cities

PITTSBURGH — The U.S. Olympic Committee wants to know if Pittsburgh or Philadelphia might be interested in hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Letters were sent out Tuesday to gauge interest among the nation’s 25 largest cities and 10 others, the USOC said.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said Wednesday that the city should feel “proud and honored” to be asked but that bidding would involve “extraordinary obstacles and challenges.”

Becoming an Olympics host is a long process. The USOC said that hosting the event would require a budget of more than $3 billion, not including construction and other infrastructure. Other requirements include 45,000 hotel rooms, an Olympic Village that sleeps 16,500 and a workforce of up to 200,000. The International Olympic Committee makes the final decision.

“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,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in the letter.

Philadelphia was among five cities that made presentations to the USOC in 2006 for a shot at the 2016 games, but the committee eliminated the city when it trimmed the prospective field to three finalists.

Following failed bids by New York for the 2012 games and Chicago for the 2016 Olympics, the USOC is taking a measured approach before moving ahead with a new campaign and wants to be sure it has a good chance of winning.

“This letter does not guarantee that the USOC will bid for the 2024 games, but rather is an initial step in evaluating a potential bid,” the committee said.

Los Angeles, Dallas and Tulsa, Okla., are among the cities that have expressed interest in hosting the 2024 Games.

New York, Chicago and San Francisco have either bid or expressed interest in bidding in the past and could also get in the mix.

New York finished fourth in the international bidding for the 2012 Olympics, which went to London. Chicago suffered a stinging first-round exit in the vote for the 2016 Games, which were awarded to Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. hasn’t hosted the Summer Olympics since Atlanta in 1996. The USOC is skipping the bidding for the 2020 Olympics.

 

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