The U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors decided yesterday to take a wait-and-see approach to the international race for the 2016 Summer Games, vowing to study issues that could affect the bid process before determining whether to enter a city, according to USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel.
The USOC board, which convened in Denver, also will schedule meetings with the mayors and civic leaders from U.S. cities interested in bidding for the 2016 Games to ensure they are aware of the hurdles inherent in the bidding process.
Washington-Baltimore, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago are among the cities that have expressed interest in bidding for the Olympics. Seibel said no formal selection process will commence until the board has completed its review.
The board's cautious approach to putting forth a bid is somewhat surprising given the enormous financial upside of an Olympics on U.S. soil, but the USOC is still reeling from New York's poor showing in the race for the 2012 Summer Games. Also, Olympic officials worldwide continue to digest the significance of London's upset of Paris -- considered a major favorite -- for those Games.
Seibel said the board will review U.S. visa and immigration policies as they relate to admitting Olympic guests; existing marketing and television contracts and how they would be affected by an Olympics in the United States; and the International Olympic Committee's requirement that a bid city be financially backed by its national government. That requirement won't be met by any U.S. bid city, which means any American city would have to ask for an exemption.
The board will attempt to begin its meetings with cities in October, Seibel said, with the hope of concluding the process around the time of the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, in February.