10 23 2014
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Washingtonians are paying close attention the quadrennial contest for a major job on the global stage.

But this time it's not the race for the White House -- the nation's capital is in the early stages of an effort to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

The non-profit group DC2024 launched a campaign Tuesday on behalf of the greater Washington-Baltimore area in an attempt to seek a bid for those games.

Asked about the potential concerns associated with holding an event of that magnitude, DC2024 organizer Bob Sweeney told CNN the capital city is in a strong position.

"In terms of security, Washington, D.C., has a huge asset in that we live in a very secure environment," Sweeney said, adding that DC is also a city that visitors and athletes will want to explore.

He says response to the initiative has been "incredibly positive."

An official bid would have to come from the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), which is currently in talks with about 10 American cities interested in hosting the games, including Washington.

The USOC would decide whether to submit a bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in partnership with a U.S. city. The latter organization would then make the final choice of host city in 2017, seven years before the games kick off.

The IOC is now in the final stages of the selection process for the 2020 Olympic Games, having narrowed down the candidates to Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid. The USOC chose not to submit a bid for those games.

The last time the U.S. hosted the summer Olympics was in 1996 when the games were held in Atlanta. The U.S. also hosted the winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2002.

A similar effort for Washington to host the 2012 summer games failed, but DC2024's organizers are optimistic.

Sweeney points out the city's landscape has undergone a significant change since the 2012 initiative, with the addition of a new convention center, a new professional baseball stadium, and plans to extend the city's Metrorail system out to Washington-Dulles International Airport.

Washington "meets or exceeds every one of the technical requirements" to host the games, Sweeney told CNN, and the area is already "venue rich" because of the large number of professional and college sports arenas in the area.

Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for Washington Mayor Vincent Gray, said Gray is "a huge sports fan and a huge fan of the Olympics, and thinks this is an exciting idea and one worth exploring. His main priority would be to ensure that any such effort would be in the best interest of District residents and taxpayers.

 

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