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L.A. 2024 Olympic bid committee does meet and greets with U.S., international officials

L.A. 2024 Olympic bid committee does meet and greets with U.S., international officials
LA24 Chairman Casey Wasserman speaks at a news conference Sept. 1 in Santa Monica. (Harry How / Getty Images)

This figures to be a busy week for the bid committee trying to bring the Olympics back to Los Angeles.

LA 2024 leaders spent part of Wednesday on a teleconference with their rivals from Paris, Rome, Hamburg and Budapest, listening to the International Olympic Committee explain about what's in store the next two years.

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Bid committee Chairman Casey Wassermann then planned to fly to Colorado Springs for an assembly hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee on Thursday and Friday.

Wasserman was scheduled to meet privately with the USOC board of directors and give a brief speech to a larger audience of sports officials.

These sorts of meetings can be crucial for bid leaders hoping to form relationships within the national and international Olympic movement.

"It's a matter of building up trust both at home and abroad," said Dick Pound, an IOC member from Canada.

Wednesday's teleconference was billed as an introductory session, with IOC President Thomas Bach giving a taped welcome from New York, where he will address the United Nations on Saturday. The IOC planned to make follow-up calls to each candidate city later in the week.

The assembly in Colorado will have addresses by USOC leadership and a speech from Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski. It will give Wasserman an opportunity to solidify support in the U.S.

This will be the first such gathering since a tumultuous summer in which the USOC's initial bid city — Boston — dropped out and was replaced by Los Angeles.

Though his name is well-known in Olympic circles – his management company, Wasserman Media Group, represents scores of elite athletes — Wasserman must forge closer, more personal ties among sports leaders.

An informal reception Thursday night could prove just as important as the speech and the board meeting.

LA 2024 bid leaders face a long, challenging road ahead. Among the five candidates, Paris figures to be the early front-runner, with Los Angeles close behind.

As Wasserman and his team refine their bid, they will travel to IOC headquarters for a workshop in November. Their task involves not just technical matters but also understanding what IOC members want.

"How a bid is presented becomes so important," said Anita DeFrantz, an IOC member from Los Angeles who, by rule, will play a role in the bid committee.

The process will continue through three distinct stages focusing on different planning aspects. The IOC will vote to select a host in the summer of 2017.

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Twitter: @LATimesWharton

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