After meeting with representatives from four cities interested in hosting the Summer Games, U.S. Olympic Committee leaders say they are "more optimistic than ever" about submitting an American bid for 2024.
The USOC invited the short-listed candidates — Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco and
Though the informal meetings went well, the national committee did not commit to submitting a bid, mindful that the U.S. has struggled in recent attempts to win the Games.
"There is a great deal of work left to do before we can make a decision," said USOC Chairman Larry Probst.
Mayor Eric Garcetti led the Los Angeles contingent, along with sports businessman Casey Wasserman — who has become point man for the effort — sports law attorney Jon Oram and city administrator Doane Liu.
Los Angeles hopes to host the Olympics for a third time, having hosted it in 1932 and 1984. Local officials face the challenge of persuading the International Olympic Committee that they can do something different this time.
Garcetti said this week that he looked forward to presenting "the strongest possible bid." His office declined further comment Friday.
Representatives from the other cities included Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, San Francisco Giants President Larry Baer and Washington businessman Russ Ramsey.
"This week marks another important milestone as we evaluate whether the time is right to bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games," said USOC Chief Executive Scott Blackmun. "We've tried to create a thoughtful and deliberate process and I think everyone involved believes we are getting closer to a decision."
Chicago and New York failed in the last two American bids dating to 2005, but prospects have improved since then, with the USOC and IOC settling a dispute over broadcast revenues.
U.S. officials have also made a greater effort to get involved in the Olympic movement.
The four current candidates emerged from a 16-month process during which the USOC reached out to 35 cities. Officials visited each of the finalists and will continue to hold discussions in the months ahead.
The ultimate decision could rest on the outcome of the IOC's "Olympic Agenda 2020," a set of guidelines that, among other things, could address bid procedures and the often-massive cost associated with holding the Games.
The IOC is scheduled to finalize that document in December.
USOC officials expect to make their decision on a 2024 bid — and potentially select a city — shortly thereafter. The IOC deadline for submitting bids will probably be late 2015 with final selection in 2017.