By Philip Hersh
4:41 AM EDT, August 22, 2011
There will be no U.S. bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The United States Olympic Committee will make no formal announcement of that decision, but spokesman Patrick Sandusky confirmed Monday the USOC had officially decided not to bid, as first reported by the Tribune.
Sandusky said that over the weekend, the USOC had informed seven potential U.S. bid cities of its decision, which was expected. They are Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Tulsa, Minneapolis, Dallas and Las Vegas.
Tokyo, Madrid, Istanbul and Rome have announced their intention to meet the Sept. 1 deadline for bids to be received by the International Olympic Committee. IOC members will pick the host city in September 2013.
USOC officials have said for several months there would be no 2020 bid until its longstanding revenue-sharing dispute with the International Olympic Committee had been resolved.
Negotiations for a solution have been moving faster than was originally planned but are not complete.
Even if that issue had been overcome, a U.S. bid for 2020 would necessarily have been hasty and come at a time when unstable economic conditions would have undermined local support in any city chosen by the USOC.
"We don't want to submit a bid that is less than world class," USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said in a recent Tribune interview. "If we rushed, it might not be that."
Sandusky reiterated that Monday, saying, "With such little time left, we don't believe we could pull together a winning bid that could serve the Olympic and Paralympic movement."
The USOC had sounded out several cities, including recent bidders Chicago and New York and two-time host Los Angeles, about interest in a 2020 effort. Groups in Dallas, Tulsa, Minneapolis and Las Vegas had made public statements expressing interest.
The U.S. would be much better off bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, for which Denver, Reno-Tahoe and 2002 host Salt Lake City have expressed preliminary interest. Those bids would not be due until 2013, allowing for a thorough domestic bid process.
"We haven't thought about what a (domestic) 2022 bid process might look like,'' Blackmun said. "If we are far enough along (in resolving the revenue-sharing issue), we will begin thinking about it."
Since 2006, the USOC has been under pressure to take a smaller share of the IOC's global sponsorship revenues and U.S. broadcast rights. Under the current agreements, which are open-ended, the USOC gets 12.75 percent of the U.S. television rights and 20 percent of the global sponsorship.
The issue has became such a flashpoint that it helped undermine the New York bid for the 2012 Olympics and the Chicago bid for 2016.
Both sides have agreed not to discuss any of the particulars under consideration.
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