Sports • Decision could impact Salt Lake City's desire to host the 2026 Winter Games.
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While Salt Lake City waits for another chance at a Winter Olympics, Los Angeles and several other U.S. cities have expressed interest in pursuing the 2024 Summer Games.
U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Scott Blackmun said Friday that his organization has received mixed responses to a letter sent in mid-February to 35 American cities, trying to gauge their interest in bidding for the 2024 Games.
The outcome of that process is likely to influence a USOC decision on whether to go after the 2026 Winter Olympics. Utah and Salt Lake City officials have let it be known the state is interested in becoming a candidate whenever the USOC opts to pursue another Winter Games.
"We've gotten a handful of really positive responses and a handful of, 'Gee, thanks for asking, but that is not right for us' responses" to the Summer Olympics question, Blackmun said in a teleconference after the USOC board met in New York City.
A Winter Games bid was not discussed, added USOC Board Chairman Larry Probst.
Blackmun declined to say which cities had responded positively to the inquiry. "We want to respect the rights of cities to engage in this process quietly," he added. "We're not going to say anything about what cities we're talking to. We're going to continue informal discussions with all of the cities."
Earlier this week, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he informed the USOC of his city's "enthusiastic interest" in bidding. Boston and Detroit are among the cities that said no, according to published reports.
Blackmun said the USOC's approach is designed to reduce the cost of winning the U.S. bid, a process that cost millions of dollars for New York City and Chicago when they pursued the 2012 and 2016 Summer Games, respectively. Both lost.
The USOC board hopes to narrow its list of potential 2024 candidates to two or three by early next year, he said. A decision would be made later in 2014, which would give an American hopeful two years to organize a bid to International Olympic Committee members. They will pick a 2024 host city in 2017.
"We want to pick a partner with the best chance of a winning bid," Blackmun said.
Billl Marolt, president and chief executive of the Park City-based U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, became a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee board on Friday.