Brace yourself: Washington is about to get swatted with a serious case of Olympic hysteria.
The District made the US Olympic Committee’s final list of cities under consideration to be the United States’ nominee to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, the USOC said Friday afternoon. Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles made the cut, as well.
“This is the beginning of our community’s effort to bring the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games to the Capital Region,” Russ Ramsey, the Northern Virginia hedge fund manager who is chairing Washington’s bid, said in a press release.
That effort could prove to be very drawn-out and costly. The USOC will make a final selection in early 2015 and submit it to the International Olympic Committee. Cities spend millions just to compete for the Olympics: Chicago spent an estimated $100 million on its pursuit of the 2016 Summer Olympics, losing to Rio de Janeiro. The last US city to host the Olympics was Salt Lake City, where the 2002 Winter Games took place. Atlanta hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics.
If Washington were awarded the Olympics, DC would share some of the burden with venues in Maryland and Northern Virginia, but organizers of the bid hope to hold most of the events in the District. Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis says DC’s advancement in the bidding process is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” (Leonsis also owns the Verizon Center, which would benefit as the obvious venue for Olympic basketball.)
The IOC will pick the 2024 host in 2017. Whichever city is picked will spend billions on stadium, housing, and infrastructure construction. Russia spent an estimated $50 billion on this year’s Sochi Winter Olympics, while London spent $14 billion on the 2012 Summer Games.