News & Politics

Washington Could Make 2024 Olympics Short List

The US Olympic Committee is reviewing cities, and there's a strong chance Washington could make the cut.

Closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Photograph by Flickr user David Jones.

The US Olympic Committee is meeting today to whittle down its list of candidate cities for the 2024 Summer Olympics from six to just two or three. At the end of the year, one of those cities will be submitted to the International Olympic Committee, which will choose the site of the 2024 Olympics in 2017.

Washington is in the running, along with Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. 

The campaign to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to Washington has operated mostly out of the public view, after its unveiling attracted skepticism from people revulsed at the idea of the city committing sprawling resources to a what’s essentially a vanity project. The USOC tells cities they should expect to spend $3 billion preparing and running the Games. Most have spent much more. Russia spent a reported $50 billion to host the Sochi Winter Olympics.

 The Washington Post reports the USOC probably won’t make its short list of two or three cities public ahead of its final choice later this year, but Washington, with its existing inventory of sporting facilities, has made a strong case.

The true capital cost of hosting any Olympics is expanding transit. The Games bring in more than 16,500 athletes and support personnel, 15,000 journalists, and hundreds of thousands of spectators, all of whom need to be shuttled to events from their lodgings and back. London, which hosted the 2012 Games, spent half of its $14 billion budget on transit. 

Perhaps winning the Olympics would mean DC would finally open the streetcar.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.