By the time the 2024 Summer Olympics come around, it will have been 22 years since the United States hosted an Olympics — and 28 years since we hosted the Summer Games.
Since the modern Olympics began in 1896, there hasn’t been a longer American gap under peacetime circumstances.
The United States first hosted the Olympics in 1904, when St. Louis hosted the Summer Games alongside the World’s Fair. The U.S. didn’t host again until 1932 (Los Angeles and Lake Placid), but that gap was lengthened by the hiatus taken during World War I.
We didn’t get the Olympics again until 1960 (Squaw Valley), but World War II forced the cancellation of two Olympics during that gap.
Since then, we’ve had another Lake Placid Olympics (1980), another Los Angeles Olympics (1984), the Atlanta Olympics (1996) and the Salt Lake City Olympics (2002).
Why hasn’t the United States — the nation that has hosted the most Games — been awarded the Olympics in such a long time? There are plenty of reasons, from the resentment displayed by other countries to the IOC’s revenue sharing with the USOC to some really strong bids by cities around the cities to the general feeling among the world that the United States shouldn’t get to host everything.
Since the U.S. flamed out hard on its bids for the 2012 Olympics (New York) and the 2016 Olympics (Chicago), the USOC reexamined its entire process of bidding for the Games. It decided to let the 2018, 2020 and 2022 Olympics bidding pass by without entries. Why? The USOC is hoping to reenter the pool with a splash for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Last week, the USOC invited leaders from planning committees in Los Angeles, Washington, Boston and San Francisco to meet and learn more about what the USOC hopes will be a stronger bidding process.
From the Los Angeles Times:
After meeting with representatives from four cities interested in hosting the Summer Games, U.S. Olympic Committee leaders say they are “more optimistic than ever” about submitting an American bid for 2024.
The USOC invited the short-listed candidates — Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. — to its Colorado Springs headquarters this week.
Chicago and New York failed in the last two American bids dating to 2005, but prospects have improved since then, with the USOC and IOC settling a dispute over broadcast revenues.
U.S. officials have also made a greater effort to get involved in the Olympic movement.
See, the United States can play nice on the international stage! (Why can’t we seem to do that all the time?)
The USOC will probably make a decision on whether or not to bid — and which city will get the opportunity — next year, after the IOC gets its house in order. Worldwide interest in bidding for Olympics has diminished over the years because the price tag for hosting the Games is totally ridiculous, and the IOC doesn’t seem to help that much. For example, $51 billion is the figure tossed around as Sochi’s price tag for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Doesn’t make a whole lot of financial sense, does it? Supposedly the IOC is going to address that problem by the end of this year, and if it does, the USOC will be much more inclined to take a stab.
Anyway, it’s time for the United States to get the Olympics again. Nowhere in the world treats the Olympics as a bigger deal than us — take it from me, who worked for NBC during the 2012 London Games — and we’ve done as much to advance the Olympics as any country on the planet.
I mean, how sweet would a New England Olympics be? If Boston wins, those Games would probably be all over the place. Some new stadiums would probably pop up around the region, you’d get to have the marathon on the Boston course, sailing in Newport, basketball at the Garden … maybe baseball could come back at Fenway!
Plus, I could actually finally go to the Olympics if they’re around here. Let’s be honest: That’s the real reason they need to be here.