DC 2024

Washington, D.C., group wants to bid for 2024 Summer Olympics

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The U.S. is in the middle of its longest break between hosting Olympics in more than 50 years. The nation’s capital could end that drought.

A non-profit organization called DC 2024 announced its intention to enter the bidding for the 2024 Olympics on Tuesday morning. The bid would include not only D.C., but also areas in Virginia and Maryland. D.C. has never hosted an Olympics.

The United States Olympic Committee sent letters to more than 30 U.S. cities earlier this year to gauge interest in a potential 2024 Olympic bid. It hasn’t announced if it will definitely bid for 2024, and it might not decide for another year. The U.S. wouldn’t have to submit a bid until 2015. The host city for the 2024 Games will be chosen in 2017.

“With more state-of-the-art sports infrastructure in a 40-mile radius than any other U.S. city, thousands of hotels and lodging options, and a vast and expanding transportation system, the Greater Washington region is one of the best and most qualified in the world to host an event of this magnitude,” said Bob Sweeney, the president of the group, in a statement. “And, most importantly, we offer all this against America’s most historic backdrop.

The U.S., which hasn’t hosted an Olympics since 2002, last submitted a bid for the 2016 Summer Games. Chicago lost out to Rio in a vote four years ago. In 2012, New York was the U.S. bid that lost to London. Both Chicago and New York finished in fourth place in voting. A D.C./Baltimore group expressed interest in bidding for the 2012 Games, too.

Sweeney said the group has spoken with elected officials and business leaders in the region.

“We are confident that the U.S. Olympic Committee — and the world — will be won over by all that our wonderful region has to offer,” Sweeney said. “DC 2024 promises that Greater Washington can provide a magnificent experience during the games and a sustaining legacy for both residents and visitors long after the closing ceremony.”

Other U.S. cities that have seen organizations express interest in a possible bid include Tulsa, Okla., Los Angeles, Philadelphia and a San Diego-Tijuana, Mexico, joint bid.

Sweeney has said he sees D.C. as the front-runner. He received supportive feedback from Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and the office of Mayor Vincent Gray, according to the Washington Post.

“We look forward to assisting the Washington Olympic Committee in presenting the nation’s capital and fabulous surrounding region to the Olympic sporting world,” Snyder said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have most of the venues needed in an internationally recognized city that is accustomed to staging high-profile events.”

Last year, the organizer for the D.C.-Baltimore failed bid for 2012 said he was expressing interest in a 2024 bid, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Like for the 2012 bid, RFK Stadium could play a key role in a bid, according to the Washington Business Journal. The 2012 proposal included an Olympic village at the University of Maryland, but this bid would put an Olympic village in downtown D.C., according to USA Today.

Sweeney, head of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance, said he hopes to raise $3 million to $5 million by the end of 2014, according to reports, and estimated the cost of hosting the Games would be $4 billion to $6 billion.

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IOC president wants life bans for Russian cheats

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 16: IOC President Thomas Bach closing remarks during the fourth day of the 21st ANOC General Assembly at the Sheraton Grand Hotel on November 16, 2016 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images for ANOC)
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Russian athletes and officials who are proven to have been part of a doping “manipulation system” should be banned for life from the Olympics, IOC President Thomas Bach said Thursday.

Bach gave his personal view one day before Canadian investigator Richard McLaren publishes a final report into alleged state-backed cheating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Proof of systematic doping would be “aggravated circumstances” to justify life bans, the IOC leader said at a news conference after a three-day executive board meeting.

“I would not like to see this person again at any Olympic Games in any function,” Bach said, noting that as an IOC disciplinary commission chairman he approved life bans for Austrian team members implicated in doping at the 2006 Turin Winter Games.

However, proving that individual athletes knew of systematic doping involving state agencies could be difficult.

McLaren, who was appointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency in May, is expected to give more detail about cheating operations at the Sochi laboratory.

In his interim report in July, McLaren confirmed claims by former lab director Grigory Rodchenkov of a hole-in-the-wall swapping system aided by the FSB security agency to exchange athletes’ dirty urine samples for clean ones.

Earlier Thursday, the IOC member appointed to oversee disciplinary cases that arise from McLaren’s evidence acknowledged they could be tough to prove.

“Can you prove (athletes) were aware?” Denis Oswald, a Swiss lawyer, said on the sidelines of a sports law conference in Geneva.

“It is not that we would be scared to attack high level people in the Russian regime,” the Swiss lawyer said. “The question is more on the legal point of view. Can you punish athletes if they have done nothing and whether they were not aware of what was happening?”

Bach has also appointed a second IOC commission, headed by former Switzerland president Samuel Schmid, to evaluate if McLaren’s report and evidence proves a state-run doping system.

“And then based on that we will see if we can start cases against athletes,” Oswald said.

Meanwhile, United States lawmakers want Bach to attend a congressional committee hearing next Thursday to provide an update on sports’ fight against doping.

“Unfortunately I cannot attend there,” said Bach, adding that the IOC will “provide by other means all the information they may need.”

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IOC president doesn’t rule out awarding 2028 Olympic host in 2017

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 23: The Olympic Flag waves as part of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — IOC President Thomas Bach says he wants to change the Olympic host city bidding procedure because it “produces too many losers.”

Bach’s comments came on the same day the IOC executive board cleared all three candidate cities for the 2024 Olympics — Paris, Los Angeles and Budapest, Hungary — to advance to the next stage of the race.

Bach did not categorically rule out the possibility of awarding the hosting rights for two games at once — 2024 and 2028 — when the IOC votes next September in Lima, Peru.

Bach said at a news conference “it is not the purpose of an Olympic candidature procedure to produce losers.”

He said the goal is “to produce the best possible host for an Olympic Games.”

Asked about speculation the IOC could award the 2024 and 2028 Olympics at the same time, he said: “Let us study this question, which is not an easy one.”

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