If the US Olympic Committee is being unusually secretive about which cities — including Boston — still are in the domestic chase for the 2024 Summer Games, it’s because the committee still is months away from knowing whether it wants to be in the chase at all. Until the International Olympic Committee decides in December what the future bidding process will be, the USOC figures that there’s no point in holding a star-spangled beauty pageant.
“We clearly want to see the output from that working group and what changes are adopted before we push the ‘Go’ button on formalizing a bid for 2024,” said chairman (and IOC member) Larry Probst after Tuesday afternoon’s board meeting at MIT. “We talked about that timing today and, yes, that work’s going to be important to our ultimate decision.”
The Olympic Agenda 2020, which is being fast-tracked by IOC president Thomas Bach, will be a “strategic road map” covering everything from host cities to the sports on the program to sponsorship to doping. At the top of the list, though, is finding ways to keep potential cities from dropping out of the running before they’ve even gotten in and to make the bid process “more appealing and flexible.”
Little of the news this year about Olympic cities has been positive. Sochi spent a blinding $50 billion on its subtropical Winter Games, even more than Beijing poured into its lavish summer edition in 2008. Rio de Janeiro, the 2016 summer host, has fallen so far behind that the IOC essentially has taken over preparations. Tokyo, which will stage the 2020 event, announced Tuesday that it’s reviewing its venue plan with an eye to cutting costs.
The list of potential cities for the 2022 Winter Games is dwindling by the week. Munich, the 2018 runner-up to Pyeongchang, wasn’t interested in another shot. Stockholm and Krakow have dropped out. Oslo, the most attractive option, is dealing with significant public opposition. L’viv, the unofficial capital of western Ukraine, faces enormous political and financial uncertainty.
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