Philadelphia declares interest in 2024 Olympics bid

BFORD10A 47226 5/9/03 PHOTO BY ERIC MENCHER. In this photo, memebers of the Purdue Univ. women's varsity lightweight 8 carry their scull off the dock after their heat. Dad Vail Regatta.
BFORD10A 47226 5/9/03 PHOTO BY ERIC MENCHER. In this photo, memebers of the Purdue Univ. women's varsity lightweight 8 carry their scull off the dock after their heat. Dad Vail Regatta. (INQ MENCHER)
Posted: April 24, 2013

Will Olympians scull on the Schuylkill, spike beach volleyballs in Wildwood, pole vault in Fairmount Park?

Mayor Nutter would like to think so.

On Monday, he told the U.S. Olympic Committee in a letter that the Philadelphia region is "enthusiastically" embracing the prospect of bidding on and hosting the Olympics and Paralympics in 2024.

"I am honored to confirm our wholehearted commitment and interest in working with the USOC to bid on the 2024 Games," Nutter wrote to Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the committee in Colorado Springs.

He added that "Philadelphia, the birthplace of democracy, is a city founded on faith tolerance and brotherly love - values which are wholly consistent with the spirit of the Olympics."

Now, before you order tickets for water polo, understand that, while this is more than a pipe dream, it's still less than reality. For now, anyway.

In February, the USOC extended invitations to the 25 biggest U.S. cities, plus 10 others that believe they have the right stuff to host.

The budget would be $3 billion, not including construction costs.

Nutter's spokesman, Mark McDonald, said Monday night that over the next few years, the city will create a committee and "collect regional partners of political and business leaders to mount the bid."

The USOC asked, the city said yes. "And now, 99.999 percent of the work needs to be done," McDonald said.

Larry Needle, executive director of the Philadelphia Sports Congress, which seeks to attract major sporting events and conventions on behalf of the City of Philadelphia, said the congress is "excited to now be exploring the opportunity."

The USOC will first decide on several U.S. finalists, then pick a single candidate to compete for the backing of the International Olympic Committee.

We've been down this five-ringed road before.

Philadelphia was among five cities that made presentations to the USOC in 2006 for the 2016 games.

The Olympics were eventually awarded to Rio de Janeiro, which has style, sure, but lacks that certain puckish something only Philadelphia can muster.

The game for the Games is afoot. Stay tuned.


Contact Alfred Lubrano at 215-854-4969 or alubrano@phillynews.com.

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