The US Olympic Committee’s board of directors voted unanimously Tuesday to submit a bid for the 2024 Summer Games and next month will choose one candidate from among Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., to join what is expected to be a crowded international field.
The committee gave no indication of a favorite among the four cities. USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said the contenders were in “a four-way tie.’’
“There is strong encouragement from the IOC [International Olympic Committee] membership for the United States to bid,” said USOC chairman Larry Probst. “There is a feeling that the Games have been away from the United States for a long time and Summer 2024 is a time when we have an opportunity to host the Games successfully.”
The International Olympic Committee will make its choice in 2017. No American city since Atlanta in 1996 has hosted the Summer Olympics. The last two bidders — New York in 2012 and Chicago in 2016 — were eliminated early in the balloting.
But last week’s decision by the IOC to make the Games cheaper and easier to stage by encouraging the use of existing, temporary, reusable, and removable venues was a critical factor in the USOC’s decision. “We just concluded that it was a really good time to throw our hat in the ring,” Blackmun said.
Representatives of the four cities made hourlong presentations to the board at a closed meeting in Redwood City, Calif., that included an extensive question-and-answer period.
Boston’s group included Mayor Martin J. Walsh; bid leader John Fish, Suffolk Construction’s chief executive; UMass Boston chancellor J. Keith Motley; David Manfredi, founding principal of Elkus Manfredi Architects; and Cheri Blauwet, who competed in both the Olympics and Paralympics.
“I couldn’t gauge from looking at the faces of committee members if they were leaning our way or not leaning our way,” Walsh said in a telephone interview. “But it shows you that this puts Boston on a stage. Whether or not we get the Olympics, to be able to be in the same conversation with other cities around I think says an awful lot about the strength of the city of Boston.”
Boston is the only first-time bidder among the four contenders. Los Angeles, site of the 1932 and 1984 Games, would be the only city other than London to play host three times to the world’s most significant sports event. San Francisco and Washington, then a joint bidder with Baltimore, were unsuccessful contestants in the 2012 domestic race.
“I basically spoke about hopes and dreams,” said Walsh, who acknowledged to the board that the No Boston Olympics group, which displayed what it called a “pop-up billboard” outside the meeting place, is concerned about the cost of the Games and potential overruns. “I let people know that I have been very clear here that that was a main concern of mine and that I’m not willing to mortgage the future of the city and leave debt behind for generations to come.”
Although Boston’s venue scheme still is taking form, the bidders have said they hope to make maximum use of college facilities that are near mass transit, to build a stadium that later can be downsized, and to erect a modular Olympic village next to UMass Boston. The units would later be used for student housing or moved.
Since the IOC will not make its 2024 choice until September 2017 and bid applications with financial guarantee letters are not due until January 2016, all four cities will have time to structure their plans further and to invite public discussion and debate.
“These bids will evolve,” said Probst, who added it was unrealistic to expect the cities to finalize the details by next month.
Based on previous visits to the contending cities and Tuesday’s presentations, the USOC board believes it has enough information to choose one of them in January.
“I don’t think it’s so much learning more,” Probst said. “We need to have some further discussions about the pros and cons of each city.”
The objective, the chairman said, was to identify a candidate that can compete with a group that may include three heavyweight contenders in Paris, Rome, and Berlin, which all have staged the Games.
What the USOC board wanted to hear Tuesday was how the Olympics would fit into each city’s vision of its future and might accelerate its planning.
“Whether or not we get the Olympic bid, one of the things I’m very happy about is we’re on a solid foundation for the future of the city of Boston,” Walsh said. “One of the things they look for is legacy and sustainability of a city. Really, we’re in very strong shape as far as the future of the city.”
Andrew Ryan of the Globe staff contributed to this report. John Powers can be reached at email@example.com.