USOC ranks S.F. among contenders for 2016 Games

The City is on a short list of cities being considered by the U.S. Olympic Committee for a possible bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.

In the next two weeks, representatives will visit Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, and, lastly, San Francisco, to test each city’s ability and willingness to not only host the Olympics, but go through the intensive and expensive process needed just to be considered for the international games.

“This is a very competitive process that can be quite costly,” said USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel, adding that it would not be “responsible or efficient to bid” for every Olympic Games.

Mayor Gavin Newsom said San Francisco would be an ideal place to host the Olympics, due to The City’s ideals, cultural diversity, history of Olympic athletes and excellent weather. Putting together a bid would take a regional partnership among the government, business leaders and other community members, he added.

“We look forward to working with the USOC in the coming weeks and months to evaluate the potential for San Francisco and the Bay Area to host the 2016 Games,” Newsom said.

This would be The City’s second attempt in recent years to become an Olympic city. Three years ago, the Bay Area lost out to New York City, which eventually lost out to London, for the honor of hosting the 2012 Olympics. For the domestic bid, San Francisco spent more than $4 million. For its unsuccessful international bid, New York reportedly spent more than $30 million. San Francisco has never hosted the Olympic Games.

Some city leaders optimistically said the cost would be worth it — when San Francisco wins.

“We look forward to putting together a very competitive bid for 2016,” said Steve Falk, president of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “Based on the quality of our last bid, we expect this one to be successful.”

The City is already investigating some of the logistics of hosting an Olympic Games, including which facilities could be used for the opening ceremony, the Olympic Village and the various sporting events, according to Jesse Blout, director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.

USOC Chairman Peter Ueberroth will be a part of the committee delegation that travels to each potential city, meeting with mayors and their chosen representatives, who have been limited to 10 persons.

The USOC has not confirmed a timeline for its decision on whether to put in a bid to host the 2016 Olympics, Seibel said. The International Olympic Committee will determine the site of the 2016 games in 2009.

beslinger@examiner.com

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