COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, January 9. FOLLOWING an 18-month evaluation process that has involved five United States cities and in-person interviews with more than 100 leaders in international sport, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced Tuesday that it intends to proceed with a U.S. bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Later this year, the USOC will formally nominate either Chicago or Los Angeles to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the United States Applicant City for the 2016 Games.
"We began our evaluation process 18 months ago with one specific goal in mind, which was to assess whether or not a U.S. bid for the 2016 Games could be competitive internationally," said USOC Chairman Peter Ueberroth. "Based on our analysis, we believe the time is right for a U.S. city to bid, and we fully intend to proceed with a unified, national effort to bring the Games back to America in 2016.
"In Chicago and Los Angeles, we have two outstanding cities that are working every day in partnership with the USOC to develop bids that are of the highest technical merit," added Ueberroth. "These cities understand that, if chosen as the U.S. Applicant City, the competitiveness of the international process will be beyond anything they have ever experienced. The unprecedented global competition to host the Games is a reflection of how far-reaching and important the Olympic Movement is to our world today."
USOC Vice President, International Bob Ctvrtlik (stuh-vert-lick), who is guiding the domestic bid process, lauded the decision as another example of how the United States Olympic Committee has become a more active and engaged partner in the world of international sport.
"Our decision to bid is just one aspect of a much larger international relations strategy designed to create more meaningful partnerships and a greater level of engagement with the worldwide Olympic Family," said Ctvrtlik. "The Chicago and Los Angeles bids are led by passionate teams who believe, as do we, that the Olympic Movement holds more hope and promise for the future than any other international movement at work today. It is active 365 days a year in more than 200 countries around the world, instilling the values of fair play, mutual respect, friendship and peace through sport in millions of young people – young people whose values will shape our world tomorrow. From our collective perspective, that is something worth campaigning for."
The USOC evaluation process began in July 2005 shortly after the 117th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Singapore, at which London was selected to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Domestically, the USOC has pared a field of five candidate cities to two – Chicago and Los Angeles – in order to select the one U.S. city that has the best chance of succeeding in the increasingly competitive global competition to host the Games. Internationally, the USOC has surveyed IOC members and other influential sport leaders to determine 1) how a U.S. bid for the 2016 Games would be received and 2) voters' impressions of the U.S. cities under consideration.
"Our process, which is patterned directly after the process the International Olympic Committee employs in its assessment of bid cities, has been effective in driving our cities toward plans that specifically address the full scope of requirements measured by the IOC," said USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr. "I believe that when our domestic process is complete, America will have a bid for the 2016 Games that is both technically excellent and visionary in what it offers the Olympic Movement. I am optimistic about our chances in this marathon."
There are four more critical steps in the USOC process:
• On January 22, Chicago and Los Angeles will submit their domestic bid books to the USOC.
• At the end of February and the beginning of March, following a comprehensive review of the domestic bid books, a USOC Evaluation Team will conduct a two-day technical evaluation in each city.
• On April 14, the Evaluation Team will present its findings to the USOC Board of Directors. In addition, the Chicago and Los Angeles 2016 Bid Committees will make their final presentations to the USOC Board of Directors.
• On April 14, the USOC will select and announce its Applicant City for the 2016 Games.
The deadline by which a National Olympic Committee must nominate its 2016 Applicant City to the IOC is Sept. 15, 2007. The international campaign will last two years, concluding in October 2009 at the IOC Session in Copenhagen, Denmark when the 2016 Host City is selected.
Special Thanks to the USOC for contributing this report.