The head of the world’s national Olympic committees urged the United States to bid for the 2024 Summer Games on Saturday, saying it would have a “good chance” of winning.
In a clear and potentially significant endorsement, the influential Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said it was time for the United States to return to prominence in the Olympic movement.
The world’s biggest economy has not hosted the Summer Olympics since 1996 and it was burned by a bribery scandal over its successful bid to hold the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
Los Angeles and Washington have both put their hands up to bid for 2024, with Boston and San Francisco also possible contenders.
Sheikh Ahmad, the newly re-elected president of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) was speaking as the body wrapped up its general assembly in Bangkok and looked ahead to next year’s meeting in Washington.
“There’s an opening and I think this is the right time to come forward for 2024,” the Kuwaiti told reporters.
“I don’t know the city and I don’t know the other competitors and I’m not saying anything because I don’t know who’s showing interest.
“Suffice to say I think it’s the best time for the States to come back with a nice bid because 2024, maybe they will have a good chance.”
New York and Chicago made unsuccessful bids to host the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, respectively, and with Tokyo already picked for 2020, 2024 is the earliest the United States can hold a Summer Games.
Olympic bids are announced nine years before the target Games, meaning that an American city would have to step forward by next year. The host city for 2024 will not be decided until 2017.
At the meeting in Bangkok, warm relations were on show with the United States named national Olympic committee of the London 2012 Games at a gala awards night late on Friday.
Sheikh Ahmad said the hotel and venue for next year’s ANOC general assembly had already been picked out in Washington, and even details of the evening show and decorations.
“It will be very nice to be back there. I’m very happy to be back in the United States as one big family,” he said.
“For a long time we’re not there, I think this is a good opportunity to be back… I hope this will be the return of the United States to the sports movement.
“They have a sport movement of course, but you understand what I mean. Returning back after the whole Salt Lake City, and all the cities which didn’t have a chance to host an Olympic Games.
The sheikh added: “I think this is a good opportunity for the United States Olympic Committee, with their coordination and cooperation, to build their trust again.”
Sheikh Ahmad is beginning a new four-year term as head of ANOC, an umbrella grouping which he has revamped and re-energised with initiatives like its gala awards and forthcoming world beach games.
At its general assembly, ANOC also pledged to support the “Agenda 2020” modernisation of the Olympic movement, led by International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.
Delegates also agreed to amend the body’s constitution to ensure all continents have at least one female representative on the executive board.