Olympics: After watching Brits, USOC wants Games on home turf
Olympics • American officials pondering bids for summer 2024 and winter 2026
Published: August 12, 2012 02:16PM
Updated: September 4, 2012 04:39PM

London • When U.S. Olympic Committee leaders look at the impressive showing by Great Britain in the London Games, they think about what hosting another Olympics in the U.S. could do for American athletes.

China won the gold medal count for the first time four years ago in the Beijing Games. Great Britain was 10th in 2004, fourth in 2008, third here.

“We saw it in Beijing, we’re seeing now, being the home team really gives all the athletes a lift,” USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said. “It seems to be a fact of life in the Olympic world, and that’s one of the reasons we’d certainly like to host the Games back in the States in the not-to-distant future.”

In July, a week after Denver announced plans to pursue the 2022 Winter Games, the USOC decided not to bid for those Games. Gov. John Hickenlooper and Mayor Michael Hancock were planning to send teams to observe the London Games, but that changed with the USOC decision. There was no official Denver delegation here, but several board members from the Denver Sports board came as spectators. They included Jim Burton, vice chair of Denver Sports, and Rob Cohen, board member of Denver Sports. All have returned to Denver, said Denver Sports director Sue Baldwin.

“Our interest in pursuing a Winter Olympic bid remains high and we will reevaluate after the USOC finishes their process at the end of the year,” Baldwin said.

The USOC is studying whether to bid for the 2024 Summer Games or the 2026 Winter Games. A report is due to the USOC board in December.

“We’d like to pull off the Games just the way that London did,” Blackmun said. “I can’t imagine us not wanting to replicate the great work that’s been done here in London, and we’ll definitely look at this experience as something that we would aspire to.”

The U.S. hasn’t hosted an Olympics since 2002 in Salt Lake City. It hasn’t hosted a Summer Games since 1996 in Atlanta. USOC chairman Larry Probst said the process is about more than picking a city.

“They’ve got to take a look at what the message is — why the United States, why that particular city,” Probst said. “We’ve got to have the right bid leader, we have to have the USOC and the bid city working hand in hand with one another, we’ve got to have the right technical plan, we’ve got to have the right legacy plan.

“There’s a lot of things that go into it. But we think the Games need to come back to America, and the sooner the better.”

John Meyer: 303-954-1616, jmeyer@denverpost.com or twitter.com/jmeyer26