LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The United States Olympic Committee announced Tuesday it will bid to host the 2024 Summer Games, but the candidate city won’t be selected until early next year.
Los Angeles, Washington, Boston and San Francisco all made their final pitches for staging the four-yearly showpiece to the USOC board of directors on Tuesday.
“The board voted unanimously to move forward with a bid,” said USOC chairman Larry Probst. “We are going to take our time and pick the city we think has the best chance of winning the competition from other cities around the world.
“This is going to be a really, really difficult decision. That is why we want to make sure we get to the best possible decision.”
The United States has won the most medals at the last five Summer Games but it hasn’t hosted a Summer Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games.
The 2002 Winter Olympics were the last Games on US soil.
Los Angeles was the first up and Boston went last as each city was given 60 minutes at a meeting in Redwood City, California, on Tuesday to make their case for being able to accommodate 10,500 athletes competing at a dozen or more venues over two weeks.
All four cities have said it would cost between $4 billion and $5 billion to host the Olympics, not including infrastructure improvements such as airport expansion, public transit and highway upgrades which could take the price up as high as $9 billion or $10 billion.
“The board would like to have some further discussion,” Probst said.
“We want to make a very thoughtful decision and the best possible decision and so the next part of the process is to get the board together again in the early part of January.
“Hopefully in the early part of next year we will reach a final decision about the city we will pick to move forward as our candidate city.”
The USA can expect a tough competition for the 2024 Games.
The official decision to bid for the Olympics comes just a day after Italy announced Rome would spearhead what is expected to be a multi-city bid.
Germany has said that Berlin or Hamburg will be put forward for the 2024 or 2028 Summer Games.
Paris is to decide in January whether to stage a bid and the Azerbaijan capital, Baku, and Doha — both beaten by Tokyo in the bid to host the 2020 Games — are potential candidates. South Africa could have a bid by Durban or a joint Johannesburg-Pretoria bid.
The International Olympic Committee will choose a final list of candidate cities in May 2016 and make a final decision in Lima in 2017.
Probst said the US plan is to come up with a single city bid and not to spread it out over too big an area.
“It is unlikely we will do a multi-city bid. We are far more likely to do a one-city bid,” he said.
The IOC passed new rules recently allowing the Games to be held in more than one city and encouraging the use of existing facilities so hosts can spread the costs around.
The 2014 Winter Games in Sochi cost Russia an estimated $51 billion and the IOC now believes that spiralling costs have scared many nations off hosting the Games.
Probst aims to pick a city that can launch a competitive bid while keeping the costs under control.
“The IOC is trying to make this more cost effective,” he said.
The US did not make a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. Los Angeles sought to be the US candidate to host the 2016 Games, but was beaten by Chicago, whose bid was then rejected by the IOC in favour of Rio de Janeiro.
Los Angeles is seeking to join London as the only cities to host the Summer Olympics three times. Los Angeles was the site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics.
Washington, Boston and San Francisco are all hoping to host their first Olympics.