D.C. mayor weighs 2024 Olympics offer

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray will “have to weigh the benefits to the people of our city,” before considering another bid to host the Olympic Games.

The District recently received a letter from the U.S. Olympic Committee seeking to gauge the District’s interest and ability in hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics.

“This is one of those efforts that would go up and down the East Coast,” says Gray in a WTOP interview. “We’d probably have venues in two or three hundred miles in each direction.”

In the 1990s, D.C. and Baltimore pooled their resources on a bid to host the games.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and mayors in 33 other cities received similar letters from USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun.

“I’m excited that Baltimore is being considered and that we’ve been invited to bid,” Rawlings-Blake told the Baltimore Sun.

Gray says the two cities would likely team up again.

“We’ll have to come together with our partners in other cities and determine whether this is of benefit to everybody,” Gray says.

In the letter, Blackmun wrote that hosting the Olympics would be “an extraordinary undertaking for any city.”

D.C.’s Chamber of Commerce agrees.

“This is a huge undertaking,” says Max Farrow, director of communications for the Chamber. “It’s not something D.C. could do alone.”

Farrow says the impact on local businesses, especially hospitality, and transportation could be huge.

“We would have to carry out a very in-depth analysis of both the costs and the benefits of a 2024 Olympic bid for D.C.,” says Farrow. “This could be a major boon or a boondoggle.”

Greg O’Dell, president and CEO of Events D.C., the official convention and sports authority for the District, says the Olympics would provide “a great sports profile for the city.”

“Sports mean terrific economic impact for the District,” says O’Dell. “We’ll take a long hard look at the benefits of hosting the Olympics, but we’ll follow the mayor’s lead.”

Atlanta was the last U.S. city to host the Summer Games, in 1996. More recently, the 2002 Winter Games were held in Salt Lake City.

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