Charlotte Gets Letter Gauging Interest In Hosting Summer Olympics

7:20 AM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
Courtesy: Visit Charlotte
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Charlotte, NC -- The United States Olympic Committee is shopping around to find a good host city for a future Summer Olympics, and has asked Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx if Charlotte would be interested.

According to officials at the U.S.O.C., the committee sent letters to Mayor Foxx and the mayors of 34 other U.S. cities on Tuesday to gauge interest in making a bid for the 2024 Games.

Mayor Foxx told reporters Wednesday night, "I've told you before that I think an Olympics could be in our future."

Foxx went on to say, "That's a leap forward as a city. I think we ought to take a second to realize that the city is on a different stage now."

Officials told WBTV that the list includes 25 of the largest cities in the country and others that have previously expressed interest in hosting the Olympics.

Folks across the city sounded off about whether they think the Queen City is ready to host a huge event like the Olympics.

"I think it's definitely a possibility to have the Olympics here," said one resident. "They had it in Atlanta, so why not here?"

Another resident said, "I think it'd be awesome. I really think it's a good idea."

Still another, was skeptical and said, "I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility but it's I think its unlikely."

In May 2012, a delegation of city and county leaders were slated to take a nearly week long trip to London, ahead of the Summer Games. The trip was supposed to help leaders understand what it takes to be a host city.

The group had to scrap those plans after their flight was canceled.

While the cities range in size, many will probably be virtually disqualified by the requirements listed in the letter, which include having 45,000 hotel rooms available for the Games.

An audit after the Democratic National Convention showed that a total of 61,246 hotel room nights were used.

Given the stringent list of qualifications, Mayor Foxx said he isn't rolling out the welcome mat -- yet.

"We'll talk about it and kick it around with the CRVA and some leaders in the community but I just think it's an honor to be asked to even think about it," he said.

The U.S.O.C. says it has not decided whether to pursue a bid in 2024, but it has begun the decision-making process. The last two American cities to make a bid - New York and Chicago - each spent more than $10 million, only to be eliminated early in the voting by the International Olympic Committee.

In the letter, the U.S.O.C. said it has about two years to select the city for the United States' bid. The I.O.C. will choose the 2024 host city in 2017.

"Our objective in this process is to identify a partner city that can work with us to present a compelling bid to the I.O.C. and that has the right alignment of political, business and community leadership," the letter to the mayors reads.

"We are seeking a partner that understands the value of the Olympic Games and the legacy that can be created not only for their community, but for our country."

The U.S.O.C. predicted the operating budget for a Games would exceed $3 billion.

Cities not only need adequate hotel space, but they must also construct an Olympic Village to house 16,500 athletes and operations space for 15,000 news media members.

An extensive public transportation network is required, and the letter states that a work force of 200,000 people is necessary.

The cities that received the letter were:
•San Jose, Calif.
•Los Angeles
•San Diego
•San Francisco
•Jacksonville, Fla.
•Orlando, Fla.
•St. Louis
•Las Vegas
•New York
•Columbus, Ohio
•Tulsa, Okla.
•Portland, Ore.
•Nashville and Davidson County
•Austin, Tex.
•San Antonio

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