To bid or not to bid? And if so, for the summer of 2024 or winter of 2026?
That’s the task for the US Olympic Committee’s working group, which will make a report to the board in December.
The last two American bids for Games, for 2012 and 2016, were disasters, with New York going out in the second round and Chicago rejected before its mayor had entered the convention center for the vote.
Now that the USOC and the International Olympic Committee have resolved their revenue-sharing dispute with a long-term agreement, the major roadblock is gone.
The IOC clearly would love to have an American candidate, if only to jack up US television rights fees.
But with the cost of a bid around $50 million and trending higher, the USOC understandably is reluctant to put up another also-ran entry.
“If we don’t think we can win, we will not bid,” chief executive Scott Blackmun declared after the recent board meeting.
The Americans haven’t hosted the Summer Olympics since Atlanta in 1996 and haven’t bid for the Winter Games since Salt Lake City hosted in 2002.
With the next two winters slated for Europe (Sochi, Russia) and Asia (Pyeongchang, South Korea) and Munich and St. Moritz both possible candidates for the 2022 edition that will be awarded in 2015, the geopolitical rotation would favor a bid for 2026; and Salt Lake City, Denver, Reno-Tahoe, and Bozeman, Mont., all have expressed interest.
More likely, though, would be a bid for the summer of 2024, especially if a European city (Madrid or Istanbul) gets the 2020 nod next year. Though the USOC could put up Chicago or New York again or the intriguing possibility of San Francisco, the competition would be stiffer, with Toronto, the next Pan American Games host, likely to be in the chase as well as 2012 runner-up Paris, which would be celebrating the centennial of hosting the 1924 version.
“It’s possible that we could come to the conclusion that a bid does not make sense for a variety of reasons,” observed USOC chairman Larry Probst.
Sticking with itWhether or not there is an NHL season this year, the international ice hockey federation is expecting the pros to compete in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. “We’ve prepared everything with the idea that NHL players will be there,” said IIHF president Rene Fasel. “We’ve decided about the format and expect them to be there.” Though the NHLers have participated in the last four Games, it’s uncertain whether club owners would want their stars to take a fortnight off and fly to the Black Sea and whether the stars would want to go anyway. The Russians, who were sixth in Vancouver and haven’t won the gold since the Unified Team did it in 1992, badly want to field their best squad and likely would put pressure on the Ovechkins and Kovalchuks to sign on . . . Who will be on the US short-track speedskating team for this autumn’s World Cup season? That may depend on the outcome of next week’s arbitration hearing over whether controversial coach Jae Su Chun should be dismissed because of his alleged mistreatment of some athletes. Several of the skaters who made the team at last weekend’s trials, most notably men’s victor J.R. Celski, signed the complaint against Chun. Since the deadline to accept team berths is Sunday, they’ll have to decide before they know Chun’s fate. If they decline, they will get their spots back if Chun is let go. Meanwhile, Simon Cho, the Olympic medalist who claims that Chun told him to tamper with a Canadian rival’s skates at last year’s world meet, failed to make the squad after coming in as national champion. Missing out, too, were 2010 veterans Kimberly Derrick, Allison Baver, and Jordan Malone. Katherine Reutter, who won two medals in Vancouver, is rehabbing from surgery and back problems and could make the team for the second half of the season, which includes the world championships.
The Olympic-year reunion at this month’s Head of the Charles Regatta will be the biggest and best yet, with 50 London rowers, most of them medalists, competing, including singles champions Mahe Drysdale and Miroslava Knapkova, who will also compete with the rest of the world’s top men’s and women’s scullers as “Great Eight” entries in the championship event, which Drysdale and his colleagues won amid the snowflakes three years ago. Five of the US gold-medal women’s eight will be joined by three members of the bronze-medal quad for a rematch with the runner-up Canadians, and Glenn Ochal and Charlie Cole from the men’s bronze-medal four will row a double . . . Kerri Walsh Jennings’s third straight Olympic beach volleyball title was all the more impressive since she was more than a month pregnant with her third child. Though partner Misty May-Treanor has retired, Walsh says she’s continuing on to Rio, where she’ll be 38 (“I want it”). Last month, she and new partner Nicole Branagh finished second to Olympic silver medalists Jen Kessy and April Ross in an AVP Tour event.Continued...