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Baltimore mayor calls possible Olympic bid 'promising'

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake had encouraging words Wednesday about a proposal to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to the Washington region, with sporting events envisioned for both Baltimore and Annapolis.

"The opportunity for a regional approach for Baltimore, with D.C. as the lead, on an Olympic bid sounds promising," she said in a statement, one day after the Washington-based group DC 2024 announced its intention to explore a bid to host the games.

"I am reviewing the DC 2024 proposal, and look forward to discussing this opportunity with our State and regional partners," Rawlings-Blake said.

Washington and Baltimore teamed up on an unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Summer Games, which were awarded to London. DC 2024 organizers say Washington is taking the lead this time because the United States Olympic Committee wanted to negotiate with a single city.

As outlined in the 2012 bid, Baltimore would have hosted soccer, gymnastics, cycling, field hockey and triathlon events. The sailing competition would have taken place in the Annapolis area and mountain biking at Patapsco Valley State Park. Organizers of the new proposal say they plan to keep many of the ideas from the earlier bid.

When word emerged a year ago about the potential for a 2024 bid, Rawlings-Blake called it "a fantastic opportunity to showcase the region," adding that "we would do a phenomenal job hosting the world elite athletes and fans from around the world."

Organizers emphasize that they are beginning the exploratory stage. "It's very, very early in the process," said Robert T. Sweeney, president of DC 2024.

Sweeney said Tuesday that he estimates it will cost $3 billion to $6 billion to host the games in Washington and predicted that the event would be profitable here.

"This is exciting," said Dan Knise, a key organizer of the 2012 bid who is involved in the new effort. "One of our selling points is our ability to capitalize on existing venues and existing transportation and hospitality structure in Baltimore, the rest of Maryland, D.C. and Virginia."

scalvert@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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