USOC will visit Chicago, San Francisco, L.A. this week

Updated: August 10, 2006, 7:55 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Olympic Committee will begin a three-day tour -- starting with Chicago on Wednesday -- of the three national finalists bidding to host the 2016 Games.

USOC officials will visit San Francisco on Thursday and Los Angeles on Friday.

Tale of Three Cities
The USOC has not decided whether it will even present a bid for the 2016 Olympics, but Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco are the final three American cities in the running. Here is a look at their Olympic history:

Los Angeles
•  Los Angeles was the only city of the three to host the Olympics, winning the honor in 1932 and 1984.
•  L.A. was also presented as a candidate seven other times -- for the 1924, 1928, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1976, and 1980 games -- losing out each time.

•  Chicago was selected to host the Olympics in 1904, but never did so. The IOC later voted to move the games for the III Olympiad to St. Louis.
•  Chicago was also presented as a candidate for the 1952 and 1956 games, losing both times.

San Francisco
•  San Francisco has been presented as a candidate once -- for the 1956 games. San Francisco joined Chicago and L.A. that year as runners up to winner Melbourne.

-- Compiled by Zachary Pierce,

Each city already submitted initial Olympic Games plans, which has been reviewed by the Applicant City Technical Team. The team visited cities bidding for the games in May before narrowing the field down from five.

Houston and Philadelphia were eliminated in July.

The purpose of this second round of tours is to go over revisions to each city's application and begin reshaping the bids to better position the cities for competition on an international scale.

Observers have said this is the United States' best shot at landing the Olympic Games in years. The country last hosted a Summer Games in 1996 in Atlanta.

The USOC is expected to decide by the end of the year whether to submit an American bid for the 2016 Games.

"We're still working on the larger question of whether or not we'll proceed with the U.S. bid," said USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel. "If we do, we have set the end of March 2007 as the time frame to have the U.S. city selected."

If San Francisco wins the bid, city officials said they plan to build a new stadium and housing for athletes by the city's waterfront that would later be used as apartments.

Los Angeles, on the other hand, still has stadiums and water parks left over from the 1932 and 1984 Olympics to meet most of the Olympic Games' needs, officials there said.

Chicago, meanwhile, promised support from corporations, compact events near downtown and mass transit.

The International Olympic Committee is expected to chose the site of the 2016 Games in 2009.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press