Potential candidates from the United States for the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics have been reduced following a Quarterly Board meeting of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) today, although the names of the cities are yet to be announced.
Speaking immediately after the conclusion of the meeting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, USOC chairman Larry Probst claimed they wanted to communicate individually with the chosen cities before the decision is announced.
More information will be provided within the next 10 days, he promised.
Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington DC are among those where were considered following the withdrawal of New York City and Philadelphia last month.
Probst, elected a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last September, claimed during a "very important" conversation about the bid, they had a "great discussion" and are "moving forwards with some fantastic candidates".
There were no representatives from any of the potential cities present at the meeting, he added, while the discussion was "broad" and "very informal".
Probst refused to reveal any more information, including the exact number of candidates chosen, the number of cities originally considered and what criteria used to distinguish them.
Probst also emphasised the importance of the outcomes of the Agenda 2020 reform process within the IOC, due to be concluded later this year at the IOC Session in Monte Carlo on December 8 and 9, in affecting a potential US bid.
The first of 14 Agenda 2020 Working Groups announced by IOC President Thomas Bach last month concerns Bidding Procedure, with the group chaired by IOC vice-president John Coates.
Probst admitted the USOC "want to see the changes decided upon before pressing the 'go' button for a US bid for 2024".
Probst, also a member of the Association of National Olympic Committees Executive Council and the Pan American Sports Organisation Executive Committee, has already made a personal contribution to this discussion by suggesting only the IOC Executive Board should vote for host cities, rather than the membership as a whole.
Speaking today, Probst toned down these remarks slightly but still claimed it "might not be a such a terrible idea" for the Executive Board to further narrow down the potential number of candidates before a final decision is taken, since they are the "most experienced and knowledgeable" figures.
The last Summer Olympics to take place on US soil was Atlanta 1996, with no US city even bidding for the 2020 edition won by Tokyo last September.
New York City launched an unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, eventually awarded to London, while a bid launched by Chicago for the next edition in 2016 also failed as Rio de Janeiro won the contest.
But a US bid for 2024 has always appeared likely, and the signing of a long-term agreement between the International Olympic Committee and broadcasting giants NBC Universal earlier this month has led some to conclude a US victory is inevitable.
Others have insisted this is definitely not the case.
A number of European cities are also considering bidding for 2024, including Paris, Rome, Berlin and Hamburg.
If the US do not ultimately launch a 2024 bid, Probst said they would consider launching a bid for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 2026.
But, in response to questions over whether a US city could step in and bid for the 2022 version due to the shortage of credible alternative applicants, he said this was "highly, highly unlikely" because he does not foresee any new cities being added.
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