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Baltimore among cities asked about interest in 2024 Olympics

Baltimore is one of 35 U.S. cities that received letters Tuesday from the United States Olympic Committee gauging interest in bidding for the 2024 Summer Games.

"I'm excited that Baltimore is being considered and that we've been invited to bid," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Tuesday afternoon. "It's way too early to say what we're going to do. But I think it's a testament to the work that we're doing, shining a spotlight on Baltimore as a sports city."

USOC chief executive officer Scott Blackmun's letter was sent to the mayors of cities in the country's 25 largest markets and 10 others that have expressed interest in hosting the Olympics. In the past, Baltimore has pursued a joint bid with Washington.

"We would like to begin having discussions with interested cities about possible bid themes as well as the infrastructure, financial resources and other assets that are required to host the Games," wrote Blackmun. "Our objective in this process is to identify a partner city that can work with us to present a compelling bid to the [International Olympic Committee] and that has the right alignment of political, business and community leadership."

Blackmun wrote that hosting the Olympics is "an extraordinary undertaking for any city." The event has an operating budget of more than $3 billion. He said a host city would need an airport, 45,000 hotel rooms, an Olympic Village, operations space for more than 15,000 media members, adequate public transportation, and a workforce of up to 200,000.

The letter states that the committee's overture to host cities does not guarantee the U.S. will bid for the 2024 Games. The committee said it has more than two years to decide whether to bid.

Atlanta was the last U.S. city to host a Summer Games, in 1996. Salt Lake City staged the 2002 Winter Games.

Reuters and the Chicago Tribune contributed to this article.

Luke.Broadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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