USOC's Blackmun: Federal or state guarantee may be key to U.S. bid for Games

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Four-time Olympic basketball champion Teresa Edwards, the U.S. chef de mission, and USOC CEO Scott Blackmun at the Olympic Village welcoming ceremony for the U.S. team (Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images)

Four-time Olympic basketball champion Teresa Edwards, the U.S. chef de mission, and USOC CEO Scott Blackmun at the 2012 London Olympic Village welcoming ceremony for the U.S. team (Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images / July 25, 2012)

A.  I don’t know what the IOC will do, but I do know it is going to be very difficult for any American city standing alone to be able to afford the (Summer or Winter) Games.  We think it is important to look at our next bid more broadly as a national bid and see if we can get state and federal support – not necessarily financial support.

Q.  What kind of support?

A.  A guarantee, which wouldn’t be an appropriation unless there was some type of operating shortfall.  And infrastructure support, in terms of airports and roads.

Q.  When will you decide about whether to make a 2024 bid, which seems more and more likely?

A.  In late 2014.

Q.  If a 2024 bid were to fail, would it be too late to make a bid for the 2026 Winter Games?

A.  We would not rule out a 2026 bid if we lose 2024, but the timing would be tight. (For example: the vote for 2020 Summer Games host is Sept. 7; the 2022 Winter Games bid deadline is Nov. 14.)

Q.  Back to the 2024 bid:  It is my feeling that San Francisco would be the most attractive U.S. candidate to IOC members.  Looking at the 2024 bid, where does San Francisco figure?

A.  We are in discussions with about 10 cities.  San Francisco did express an interest in learning more about the scope and scale of the Games.

Q.  Have you identified publicly the 10 cities?

A.  No, but some have named themselves to a degree:  San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Philadelphia, Dallas are among them.

Q.  London’s permanent new Olympic Stadium cost approximately $750 million.  Costs for new arenas of that scope will go past $1 billion by 2024.  Some saw Chicago’s plan for a temporary main Olympic stadium for a projected $360 million as a cost-cutting template for future bids.  Will that idea catch on?

A.  If you can take a permanent stadium that costs $1.5 billion and make it a temporary one for $500 million, it saves $1 billion.

Q.  That makes it even clearer Atlanta had the right idea to turn what would have been a white elephant Olympic Stadium into Turner Field for the Braves.

A.  It’s the classic model.  It’s perfect.  If you can build a stadium that is convertible into something that is going to be used in a regular basis that is obviously a preferable way to go.

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