Scherr backs San Francisco, Chicago as USOC sharpens focus on 2024 Olympics bid

Date: 
4 December 2013

Jim Scherr, the former chief executive of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), has picked out Chicago and San Francisco as the country's two strongest candidates for a potential Olympic Games bid in 2024.

Chicago submitted a bid for the Games in 2016, but was eliminated in the first round of bidding in a vote eventually won by Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. New York City also failed in its bid for the 2012 Games, which were awarded to London.

“I think Chicago has an excellent infrastructure and San Francisco is a multicultural, international city... they would be the two I'd pick out,” Scherr told SportBusiness International at the Emerging Host Cities conference in Dubai today. He was speaking on the opening panel session of the day, discussing the Azeri capital Baku, where he is currently living as chief operating officer of the 2015 European Games.

“The IOC (International Olympic Committee) is very keen on a bid from the United States... but there will be strong bids from the likes of Rome and Paris, so it's far from a foregone conclusion [that a United States bid would be the frontrunner].”

The USOC is understood to be talking to fewer than 10 cities about potential candidatures. A final decision of whether the United States will bid, and if so which city it will put forward as a candidate, will be made by the end of 2014.

The USOC’s chairman, Larry Probst, said yesterday that the national Olympic committee is hoping to bid for the Games, while chief executive Scott Blackmun added that a delegation has been touring prospective cities and will continue to do so through January.

“It is our intention to bid for 2024 if all the elements we talked about previously are in place,” Probst said during a conference call.

“That obviously includes: do we have the right message? Do we have the right technical plan? Do we have the right leaders? Do we have the financial support of the local community? Do we have governmental support? So a lot of things have to fall in place.”