Richmond included in Washington, DC bid for 2024 Olympics

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond would host events in the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games if Washington, DC wins the bid, organizers said Tuesday.

Events would be centered in the DC area, but would span from Baltimore to Richmond, said Bob Sweeney, president of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance, which is leading the initiative.

Sweeney is part of a group called DC 2024, which was unveiled Tuesday in the nation's capital to help explore the possibility of hosting the games. Sweeney calls Washington a front-runner, due to the sporting facilities, hotel rooms and the city's stature.

"We are the only major capital city in the world," Sweeney said of Washington, "not to have hosted the games yet."

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones' office says it has "not yet been contacted by the exploratory committee, but would view hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics as great for the region."

Sweeney mentioned Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder as one person who has been supportive of the proposal, reports the Washington Post. Snyder has praised Richmond for its handling of the inaugural Washington Redskins training camp, which just wrapped up earlier this month.

Details about which events would be held in Richmond or the extent to which the area would be involved are not yet clear.

"Conversations on how Richmond will be incorporated are still preliminary. DC 2024 leadership has briefed the Governor," said Jackie Kahn with DC 2024. "As plans develop further, additional conversations on venues and facilities will certainly take place."

Governor Bob McDonnell's office also says talks are still in the early stages and details about Richmond's impact are not yet available.

"Our office and the Virginia Tourism Corporation have had an informal conversation with DC 2024 about the bid in general. There has been no specific ask made of the Commonwealth at this time," said Tucker Martin, Communications Director for Governor Bob McDonnell. "Obviously, we are supportive of this effort and certainly stand by to listen to any ideas and proposals about how Virginia can work with DC 2024 to bring the Olympics to this area. It would be a tremendous economic boost for the state."

Jack Berry with Richmond Regional Tourism says the city would serve as a mini hub should the bid go through. He says the city has the sports facilities, attractions, and accommodations to handle visitors from around the world.

"I cannot wait because I really do think our time has come to have the olympics up in the Washington D.C. area," said Berry. "I think their position looks really strong."

The US Olympic Committee sent letters to the mayors of 35 cities six months ago asking their interest in a possible bid. So far, 10 cities have shown interest, including Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In September 2015, the USOC must choose one of the US cities for its bid. The International Olympic Committee will not announce the winner of the 2024 bid process until 2017. If selected, Greater Washington will be the first U.S. city to host the Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996.

Washington, DC and Baltimore mounted a campaign in 2002 to host the 2012 games, which eventually was awarded to London.

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