Washington to make fresh pitch to host 2024 Olympics

WASHINGTON, District of Columbia (AFP) — Washington is actively looking into making a fresh pitch to host the Olympic Games, this time in 2024, says the head of DC2024, which has officially launched online.

If all the pieces fall in place, it will go before the US Olympic Committee in September 2015 in hopes of becoming the US candidate to host the world’s greatest sporting event.

“Quite honestly, we’re the only major capital in the world that hasn’t hosted an Olympic Games yet,” DC2024 president Bob Sweeney said Tuesday.

Washington was among 35 cities that got letters from the US Olympic Committee in February inviting them to consider making an Olympic pitch.

Washington had previously teamed up with nearby Baltimore, Maryland in a bid to become the US candidate for 2012 — an honour that ultimately went to New York, which went on to lose the games to London.

Eschewing the usual press conference launch, DC2024 used social media to kick off its campaign — recruiting its first 1,000 followers on Facebook in a few hours and sending out a flurry of Twitter messages throughout the day.

While Washington would be the focal point of the 2024 games, Sweeney said events would also take place at locations in Maryland and Virginia within easy reach of the US capital.

The fact that the greater Washington area already has so many major league sports venues — as well as hotel rooms and three major airports — is a cost-effective plus, he said.

“We have more venues in a 60-mile (100-kilometre) radius than any other city in the country, and that will bode well for our bid — it won’t cost as much because we won’t be building as much.”

Washington would still have to build accommodation for 10,000 athletes and 15,000 media personnel, as indicated by the US Olympic Committee, he said.

But Sweeney said DC2024 is looking to London — which used its winning 2012 bid to redevelop its neglected East End — as a model to follow.

“We’re inspired by London and the way they used sustainable real estate development as a platform for their bid,” he said.

If Washington wins the US Olympic Committee’s blessing in September 2015, it would be in pole position to woo Olympic movers and shakers when it hosts the general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees in October 2015.

The International Olympic Committee will pick the 2024 host city in 2017.

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