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.”
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.