L.A. or Chicago in Olympic bid

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NEW YORK -- The U.S. will bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games in either Los Angeles or Chicago, officials announced Tuesday.

United States Olympic Committee chairman Peter Ueberroth said he began evaluating 18 months ago "whether or not a U.S. bid for the 2016 Games could be competitive internationally.

"Based on our analysis, we believe the time is right for a U.S. city to bid, and we fully intend to proceed with a unified, national effort to bring the Games back to America in 2016," he said in a statement.

Ueberroth said Los Angeles and Chicago would make their pitches to host the Games over the next three months and the USOC would announce on April 14 which city it would put forward.

"We're excited the United States is going for it," said Patrick Ryan, chairman of Chicago 2016.

"After what would be a twenty years' absence, it would be great for the Olympic Games to return to the U.S., and it would be an honor to host them here in Chicago."

"Hopefully, the strength of our plans gave USOC confidence that the United States could win on the international level."

LA DELIGHTED

David Simon, president of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, said: "We are delighted with the announcement and I think this will energize us to move forward in the next ninety days.

Simon said he was confident the Committee would meet the milestones laid out by the USOC over the next three months.

"We have a great team working on it from the mayor on down and we are definitely energized," he added.

The deadline for the USOC to nominate the city that will bid for the Games to the International Olympic Committee is September 15, 2007. The winning city will be announced by the IOC in October 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"In Chicago and Los Angeles, we have two outstanding cities that are working every day in partnership with the USOC to develop bids that are of the highest technical merit," said Ueberroth, who was the CEO of the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

"These cities understand that, if chosen as the U.S. applicant city, the competitiveness of the international process will be beyond anything they have ever experienced."

San Francisco withdrew from the race in November after the city's professional football team said it would not build a new stadium that would have been the centerpiece of a bid.

Italy, India, Japan, Brazil, Spain and Azerbaijan have also expressed an interest in staging the 2016 Olympics.

The United States has not hosted the Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996 with New York losing out to London for the 2012 Olympics. Salt Lake City held the Winter Games in 2002.
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