SBD/May 29, 2014/Olympics

Philadelphia The Latest U.S. City That Will Not Bid For The '24 Summer Olympics

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has decided to withdraw the city "from the bidding process to host” the ‘24 Summer Games, “citing cost as the major factor,” according to Jenny DeHuff of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. Nutter yesterday said, “It is a tremendously costly endeavor. … When you add it all up, collectively, with our stakeholders, we made the decision that at this time, for the time, the effort, the fundraising, the prospect of creating new venues -- any city that is a bidder, let alone a winner of a bid -- always has to build additional facilities. It is millions and millions and millions of dollars. Multiple facilities literally would have to be built, and in many cases, they are only for the Olympics. Some of them remain, but in many instances, those facilities go away” (PHILLY.com, 5/28). Philadephia's decision not to bid for the '24 Games comes on the heels of N.Y. Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this week ruling out the possibility of that city bidding for the event. YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee notes with those departures, about 10 cities "now remain in consideration for the United States' bid." Bidding for the '24 Games will begin next year, and the IOC will "announce the winning city" in '17 (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/29).

RETURN TO SENDER? In Utah, Lisa Riley Roche asks with the race for the ‘22 Winter Games “growing increasingly unstable, could Salt Lake City be asked to host the Olympics for a second time in 20 years?” Krakow, Poland, just “withdrew its bid after residents overwhelmingly voted against hosting the Games.” Meanwhile, Stockholm "withdrew in December and Oslo, Norway, could be next because of political pressure.” It is also “not clear whether the Lviv, Ukraine, bid will go forward given the political turmoil in that country.” That leaves Beijing -- which hosted the ‘08 Summer Games, but “does not have winter facilities nearby” -- and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Former ‘02 Winter Games COO Fraser Bullock said that it is “still highly unlikely Olympic officials would turn to Salt Lake City” because the IOC's bidding process is “already underway.” Bullock: "We did not submit a bid. So the IOC would have to be in extreme circumstances to then come back and violate that process.” USOC Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer Patrick Sandusky yesterday said the NGB is "currently evaluating whether or not to bid for the 2024 Games." Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker’s spokesperson Art Raymond said that the mayor believes the city would be “ready to step up” (DESERET NEWS, 5/29).

PRICE GOUGING: In N.Y., Christopher Clarey writes it now “seems that nobody is much interested” in staging the Winter Olympics. What once “looked like a robust race” to host the ‘22 Games has “turned into a scramble for the escape hatch.” The “knee-jerk reaction is to proclaim that this is all fallout from the Sochi Olympics with its scary $51 billion price tag, shaky environmental record and high potential for future white elephant sightings.” Norwegian IOC member Gerhard Heiberg said, “People think it’s too expensive to host a Winter Olympics now and that it may be too big.” Clarey notes this “crisis in Winter Olympic bidding also has its roots in mission creep, the lower profile and reach of the Winter Games compared with the Summer Games and the economic slowdown in Europe.” But it also “stems from the IOC’s less-than-glowing image in Western nations.” Longtime Olympic bid consultant Terrence Burns, who published a series of reform proposals this week, believes that the IOC “needs to develop a crack permanent team that would work from Day 1 with winning bidders and would be far more engaged than the coordinating commissions that currently provide IOC oversight.” Burns also thinks that the IOC “should identify cities and regions that would be the best long-term fits and engaging with them first rather than playing ‘a game of chance’ and weighing bids after they arrive” (N.Y. TIMES, 5/29).
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Olympics, IOC, USOC

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