U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun revealed that 10 American cities have expressed interest in bidding for the 2024 Olympicsand Paralympic Games, including Tulsa, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and a joint bid proposed by San Diego and the Mexican city of Tijuana, which cannot go any further forward because it is against the Olympic Charter.
Tulsa has renewed its long-shot plan to bid for the Olympics and Paralympics in the hope that it can change the stereotype of the small city in Oklahoma.
The city, which has a population of only 400,000, making it only the 45th largest in the country, has revealed that they are among the 10 cities to have responded positively to the letter sent by the USOC, which is trying to establish which American cities would be interested in bidding for the 2024 Games.
Tulsa had been interested in bidding for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, but in the end the USOC decided to overlook it and not put any city forward.
“I see this as a great opportunity, I really do,” Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said. “If we come off looking a little lighthearted on it, so much the better, but we are serious about putting our name out there.”
There is also little chance of the USOC picking Tulsa, which claims to be the birthplace of US Route 66, but local enthusiasts are refusing to give up.
“Some people think of Tulsa as a flyover, Dust Bowl town,” said Neil Mavis, a member of the Tulsa 2024 Olympic Exploratory Committee. “Many people think of cowboys and Indians. Bidding for the Olympics is the one way to change those stereotypes.”
A joint campaign from San Diego and Tijuana, its Mexican neighbor, is also among the proposals that the USOC received to bid for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner claimed that his was a serious proposal when he launched it, alongside Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante.
The two cities, which share a 15-mile border, are closely linked economically.
“When I looked at it, I said, ‘We have to do this together with Tijuana,'” Filner said.
The bid, however, is unlikely to get off the starting blocks.
The Olympic Charter does not allow for joint bids from cities, let alone different countries, for the Summer Games.
“That would have its challenges,” Blackmun told the Associated Press when talking about the San Diego-Tijuana bid. “We haven’t looked at it carefully. We just learned about it.”
The level of interest from the 35 cities that the USOC wrote to in February has left Blackmun optimistic.
“We’re in discussion with about ten cities actively now,” he said. “The process is really working the way it was supposed to.”
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is due to select a host city for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics in 2017, which means the U.S. would have to choose a candidate ready to launch a bid in 2015.
“We’ve got plenty of time,” Blackmun told the Associated Press. “There are no specific deadlines on this process.”
Contact the writer of this story at email@example.com. Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee that staged the 2012 London Games. The blog continues to cover issues that are important to the Olympic Movement. This article is reprinted here with permission of the blog editors.