US Cities Bidding for the Olympics

Tomorrow, 16 December, four US cities will make presentations to the US Olympic Committee, who will then select one city as the US choice to be candidate city to host the 2024 Olympic Games. The four US cities bidding are Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

Los Angeles is well known in the Olympic world. If selected, this would be Los Angeles’s 10th bid to host the Olympic Games – after 1924, 1928, 1932, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1976, 1980, and 1984. Los Angeles won the bid in 1932 and 1984, acting as the host city. In addition, Los Angeles also bid one other time – in 1956 for the Equestrian Games. The 1956 Olympics were in Melbourne, Australia and restrictive animal quarantine laws forced the equestrian events to be moved to another city and nation, which turned out to be Stockholm, Sweden.

Los Angeles has thus bid 9 times previously for the Summer Olympics, which is an all-time record. Rome, Italy has bid 8 times, winning in 1908 (when it turned down the Games eventually) and 1960. Rome recently announced plans to bid for 2024. Tied for third for most Summer Olympic bids is Athens, which bid 7 times, and has hosted the 1896 and 2004 Olympics, and the 1906 Intercalated Games.

The city tied with Athens is a US one, and nobody would ever guess that Detroit, Michigan has bid for 7 Summer Olympics. Detroit holds the sad distinction (and an expensive one) of making the most Olympic bids without ever winning one.

San Francisco has bid for the Olympics before, back in 1956. There were 10 candidate cities that year, including 6 American ones, and San Francisco was eliminated after the first round vote, having received 0 votes.

Boston and Washington, DC have never bid before for the Olympics, so this will be a first for them.

Why is it necessary for the USOC to pick only one city – couldn’t all four US cities submit bids to the International Olympic Committee? That used to be the case, but since the 1970s the USOC and the IOC have only allowed one city from any nation to bid. The saves the nation money, and also gives the cities more chance to win, as multiple US cities would only split the votes.

But back when it was allowed, US cities liked to bid for the Olympics, led by the aforementioned 1956 bid with 6 US cities involved – Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. In 1948 and 1952 there were also multiple US cities bidding, with 4 in 1948 (Baltimore, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia) and 5 in 1952 (Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia).

At the Winter Olympics, there have also been several times when multiple US cities have bid, most notably in 1932 when 6 US cities bid – Lake Placid, Bear Mountain, New York; Duluth, Minnesota; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Denver, and Yosemite Valley, California. In 1956 Colorado Springs and Lake Placid also made bids.

Here are all the American cities that have bid for the Summer Olympics and the years they bid, also listing the number of times they have won:

City Wins Yr1 Yr2 Yr3 Yr4 Yr5 Yr6 Yr7 Yr8 Yr9
Atlanta 1 1920 1996
Baltimore 0 1948
Chicago 0 1904 1952 1956 2016
Cleveland 0 1916 1920
Detroit 0 1944 1952 1956 1960 1964 1968 1972
Los Angeles 2 1924 1928 1932 1948 1952 1956 1976 1980 1984
Minneapolis 0 1948 1952 1956
New York 0 2012
Philadelphia 0 1920 1948 1952 1956
San Francisco 0 1956
St.Louis 1 1904

So here we go. One US city will be chosen tomorrow. Many people feel that Los Angeles would have the best chance to win the bid. But if the writer of this blog is allowed to pick favorites … Go Boston!

2 thoughts on “US Cities Bidding for the Olympics”

  1. Regarding the 1932 Winter Olympics: at the time the Winter Games were (if possible) supposed to be hosted by the nation hosting the Summer Olympics, so it makes sense that 6 US towns made a bid.

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