"From a Philadelphia perspective, we have a pretty impressive array of facilities and amenities that would get us close to the starting line," McDonald said. He called it an "exciting prospect."
Philadelphia was among five cities that made presentations to the USOC in 2006 seeking a chance to host the 2016 Games, but the committee eliminated the city when it trimmed the field to three finalists.
At the other end of the state, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said Wednesday that the city should feel "proud and honored" to be asked.
Becoming an Olympics host is a long process. The USOC said that hosting the event would require a budget of more than $3 billion, not including construction and other infrastructure. Other requirements include 45,000 hotel rooms, an Olympic Village that sleeps 16,500 and a workforce of up to 200,000. The International Olympic Committee makes the final decision.
"Our objective in this process is to identify a partner city that can work with us to present a compelling bid to the IOC and that has the right alignment of political, business and community leadership," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in the letter.
Following failed bids by New York for the 2012 games and Chicago for the 2016 Olympics, the USOC is taking a measured approach before moving ahead with a new campaign and wants to be sure it has a good chance of winning.
The United States hasn't hosted the Summer Olympics since Atlanta in 1996. The USOC is skipping the bidding for the 2020 Olympics.