USOC leaders head to Boston to check up on bid progress
U.S. Olympic Committee leaders will be in Boston to meet Thursday with the group trying to get the city's bid for the 2024 Olympics on track.
Among those in the meeting will be USOC chairman Larry Probst and CEO Scott Blackmun, and Boston 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca and CEO Rich Davey.
In an email to The Associated Press, Pagliuca called it a ''regularly scheduled monthly meeting to review next steps'' and also to discuss what they learned during a trip to the Pan Am Games in Toronto last week.
After the USOC's June 30 board meeting, Probst said he and Blackmun would be ''circling back'' with Boston leaders to check on efforts to gain local support.
Local poll numbers have been in the 40s. Probst said support needed to reach the 50 percent mark ''relatively soon.'' The USOC must officially declare a candidate by Sept. 15.
The key players in this project have met regularly, though now, time is running short to finalize the bid. Probst has not said what would be enough progress to satisfy the committee.
Meanwhile, with less than two months before the International Olympic Committee's deadline for cities to declare they will bid, the USOC's options become fewer and more difficult.
Bringing in another city - likely, Los Angeles - is doable. But it would involve some quick and tricky negotiations, and would also look rushed considering the two-plus-year process the USOC went through to pick Boston.
Ending the bid altogether could set back the USOC's relationship with IOC president Thomas Bach, who is looking for a lively bidding war for the first games awarded under his new, streamlined selection process. Rome, Paris, Hamburg, Germany and Budapest, Hungary are also in the mix for Olympics that will be awarded in 2017.
Blackmun and Probst have insisted their only thought has been keeping Boston as the bid city, even though that carries the continued risk of low poll numbers in a city and state that are skeptical about the ability to fund the Olympics without public money. A referendum is set for next year, and Boston 2024 leaders have vowed to end the bid if it doesn't win a majority in both the city and the state.
AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen in Boston contributed to this report.