The USOC is expected to decide on a U.S. site in September 2015, and the International Olympic Committee will make the final selection two years later, Sweeney said.

USOC CEO Scott Blackmun told The Washington Post that other cities, including Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, are also organizing political and financial support for bids.

If Washington is selected, it would be the first time in 28 years that a U.S. city has hosted the Summer Olympics. Atlanta last did so, in 1996.

Sweeney estimated that it will cost $3 billion to $6 billion to host the games in Washington and predicted that the games would be profitable here.

Unlike the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, or the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, both of which required extensive construction of new facilities, the Washington region already has venues and amenities available, Sweeney said.

"Clearly, we don't need hotels. We don't need high-speed rail anymore," he said."The historic backdrop of the nation's capital and all of the history in suburban Maryland and Virginia and D.C. itself make it an ideal destination for fans, for the athletes, for everybody to come and visit Washington, D.C."

But Dennis Coates, an economics professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, said the Olympics are a financial boon to the International Olympic Committee, not necessarily to the host cities.

"The question is: How much do we have to pay?" Coates said. "Just putting together a bid is an expensive proposition. It's not an easy thing to do."

Even though the region already has sports facilities, Maryland still would be on the hook for guaranteeing public safety and paying for traffic control, he said. And it's not known whether the events would generate enough sales tax and other revenue to account for those expenses.

Coates said he might not support a bid for those reasons, but conceded that having the Olympics here would be exciting.

"This could generate an enormous amount of pride and an enormous amount of happiness among the population, particularly if you pull it off well," he said.

eileen.ambrose@baltsun.com

michael.dresser@baltsun.com