The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) today formally committed itself to bidding for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics but decided not to choose a city until next month.
Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C had all made presentations to the USOC Board in Redwood City, California, today and it was widely expected they would anoint a candidate following that.
But USOC chairman Larry Probst revealed they had decided not to announce a decision until at least next month to give themselves more time.
"We are going to take our time and pick the city we think has the best chance of winning the competition from other cities around the world," he said.
Scott Blackmun, the USOC chief executive, claimed that all the cities who had made presentations today were in a "four-way tie" and there was no front-runner.
But Probst did admit that they would pick a "single city", ruling out a joint bid from Los Angeles and San Francisco, an idea that had gained momentum since the adoption by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last week of Agenda 2020, which allows cities to put in joint bids.
The USOC will start this contest as the favourites and Probst claimed all four candidate cities had support internationally.
"There are 105 IOC members, and I have heard multiple IOC members endorse each of the cities," said Probst, himself an IOC member.
"We have gotten a lot of encouragement to bid from IOC members and the highest levels of the IOC."
America has not hosted the Summer Olympics since Atlanta in 1996, a Games widely considered the worst of recent times.
New York City and Chicago bid unsuccessfully for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, events awarded to London and Rio de Janeiro respectively.
"We are excited to announce our plans to put forth a bid for the 2024 Games and look forward to taking the next step in identifying a partner city that can work with us to present a compelling and successful bid," said Probst.
"We have the opportunity to play an important role in the future development of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, while hosting a Games that serve the athletes and the worldwide Olympic and Paralympic family.
"We greatly appreciate the partnership that each of the four remaining cities has demonstrated thus far, and we are confident that we are on the right track."
Rome is the only city to have officially declared so far it will bid for the 2024 Olympics but Germany is expected to put forward either Berlin or Hamburg.
Baku, Budapest Istanbul and Paris could be other European bidders.
Doha and either Pretoria or Gauteng Province in South Africa are other potential contenders.
The deadline for confirming bids is September 15 next year but a special invitation phase for the 2024 Olympic bid process will start on January 15, with the IOC keen to provide more consultation with cities in order to generate more popular support.
"An entire generation of Americans has not had the opportunity to witness the amazing spectacle of an Olympic and Paralympic Games on home soil, and we believe it's important to bring the Games back to the United States to ensure the lasting strength of the Movements," said Blackmun.
"We believe the Games can play an incredibly positive role on the long-term development of an American city and we're excited to participate in that process."
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