The U.S. Olympic Committee has narrowed the list of potential U.S. cities to host the 2024 Olympic Summer Games to a “smaller group,” but officials said they would not reveal the cities until they’ve had time to communicate with each. “We’re not prepared to get into any specifics or details other than to say we had a great discussion and we’re going to be moving forward with some really fantastic candidates,” said USOC Chairman Larry Probst.
The USOC has yet to make a decision on whether it will even bid for the 2024 Games, but several U.S. cities have publicly declared their interest in hosting should a bid be submitted: San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Boston. City leaders in Philadelphia and New York, who had also been considering a bid, recently said they will no longer pursue their plans.
The USOC board met in Boston on June 10 to discuss the remaining list. Probst said the board will likely reveal its shortlist publicly within the next 10 days after it has had time to communicate with each destination. The International Olympic Committee will be accepting bids for the Games in 2015, with a decision expected in 2017.
As for whether the U.S. will ultimately submit a bid, Probst said the USOC will be monitoring closely the recommendations expected later this year from an IOC working group studying potential changes to the way the Olympic Games are structured. That group is expected to make recommendations that could streamline or change the bidding process for Games in the future. “That work is going to be important to our ultimate decision,” Probst said.
USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said the organization will be working closely with the remaining candidate cities in the coming months to go into more depth on their proposals before selecting one city to submit to the IOC as a potential candidate. “Basically, it’s going to be making sure the cities have the land and the buildings and the wherewithal and the consent they need to do what they said they can do,” he said. “It’s a lot of land planning, it’s a lot of discussion around the host city contract, around the terms of our joint venture with each city. It’s mostly just planning around the details of the Games and making sure the really big ticket items—like the stadium, the village, the main press center and the broadcast center—have appropriate places.”
Probst also sought to clarify recent comments he made suggesting the IOC Executive Board should consider making the decision on selecting future host cities instead of the full 100-plus member IOC. Probst said he believes such a process could be more efficient in the future but that it was just one of many recommendations that may surface on ways to improve the host-selection process. “These are all things that are just ideas at this point,” he said. “These are things for the [IOC] working groups to consider and come back to the full membership with their recommendations. That was said in the spirit of being more efficient and cost-effective than we may have been in the past, and I think that’s something the entire membership is looking to do.”
In other action, the USOC board approved a five-year funding plan for a division that will focus on the SafeSport initiative aimed at battling sexual abuse and harassment. Blackmun said $5 million had been allocated toward the effort, an expense to be shared by the USOC and national governing bodies. He said the USOC will be seeking an additional $10 million to $15 million from other outside agencies or philanthropic sources to contribute toward the effort in the future. “We think the issue is important enough and broad enough that we shouldn’t be the sole funders of this initiative,” he said. “So we’re gong to go out and look for other like-minded organizations and people who want to support this effort.”
The board also had a discussion about the importance of Olympic sports at the collegiate level, several of which have been threatened in recent years due to budget cuts on campuses. Blackmun said the USOC intends to increase its level of communication particularly with universities that have sent a large number of athletes to the Games in the past. Of the 104 medals won by the U.S. team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, more than 80 were from current collegiate athletes or athletes who had previously competed in collegiate sports.