WASHINGTON, D.C., is in the running to be the nation’s official bid city for the 2024 Olympic summer games. Not surprisingly, the prospect of hosting the world’s largest sporting event has roused as much worry as excitement. Imagine the traffic nightmare! The crowds! The costs! Those are just a few of the concerns, and they cannot be discounted.
At the same time, the region should take satisfaction in the attributes that have made it a competitive choice and be open to the possibilities the Olympics could create.
Washington emerged this summer as a finalist, as did Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, in the competition to be this country’s possible nominee to host the 2024 Summer Games. Making that cut is just the first step in an arduous process before the International Olympic Committee awards the games in 2017. Indeed, still up in the air is whether the United States — which saw disappointing fourth-place finishes for its candidates for the 2012 and 2016 games — will put forth a nominee in a field that is expected to include Paris; Rome; Doha, Qatar; and Istanbul. The IOC also may want to deliver on its long-stated desire for a first-ever Olympics in Africa.
Nonetheless, there is some sentiment, as The Post’s Liz Clarke reported, that the time may be right for a bid by the U.S. committee, which sat out the 2020 bidding process. Washington has been rejected before as the country’s nominee, but DC2024, the nonprofit exploratory committee spearheading the effort, is advancing a strategy that focuses on the advantages of the region: existing sports venues in D.C., Maryland and Virginia; three airports; proven experience in hosting big events. Particularly appealing is how the group, which includes some of the area’s most successful business leaders, is framing the games as a catalyst to advance existing regional goals, much the way London used its games to invest in areas that needed a boost; construct infrastructure that would be useful long after the games, and build a sports culture attuned to health and nutrition.
Rigorous study will be needed to determine the advantages and disadvantages of hosting the games, and there must be a full understanding of the costs. Whether Washington has the wherewithal to be host city is yet to be determined. But it’s good to be in the game.
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