San Francisco is expected to make the cut Tuesday as one of the U.S. finalists for a possible 2024 Olympic bid when the United States Olympic Committee meets Tuesday in Boston. Don't expect a formal announcement, however. As much as everyone loves the Games, that's just the way the USOC rolls. Transparency isn't an Olympic ideal.
The excitement and prestige of hosting an Olympics is incalculable. So are the potential tourist dollars. The question is whether the Bay Area could host an Olympics that would rise above the stink of political corruption that increasingly permeates today's major international sporting events.
The 2014 World Cup and the Sochi Olympics offer prime examples of the depths to which things can go horribly wrong.
Brazil's bungling of the World Cup preparations and stadium construction proves that the so-called beautiful game has the ugliest politics of any sport in the world. Vladimir Putin's unconscionable spending of billions for the Sochi Games for political purposes made a mockery of the Olympic ideals. And that doesn't take into account the reports of bribery required to just win the right to host the competitions.
There's a reason the United States hasn't hosted the Summer Games since the 1996 Atlanta Games, and it goes far beyond that the International Olympic Committee likes to spread its competitions to a wide range of hosts. The USOC and the IOC in 2012 ended a long-standing feud over revenue sharing. Simply put, the IOC wanted more of the billions in broadcasting revenues that are split between it and the USOC, despite the derivation of those TV revenues primarily from U.S. private funding.
The USOC didn't even make a bid for the 2020 Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo, because of the dispute. That followed the embarrassing failure of Chicago's 2016 bid despite a personal appearance before the IOC by President Barack Obama to lobby for his home city.
The USOC is reportedly back in the IOC's good graces, however, which could work the Bay Area's favor, although the competition among Los Angeles, Boston and Washington, D.C. will be fierce.
The deadline for the USOC to make a bid for the 2024 Olympics is 2015, and a decision by the IOC is set for 2017. Paris, Rome and Berlin are among the cities in other nations that are reportedly making preparations to compete.
The Bay Area has one significant advantage in that many of the possible venues for the athletic competitions are in place. It's not impossible to imagine the Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympics in Santa Clara's Levi's Stadium, showcasing the technological genius that makes Silicon Valley the creative capital of the world.