Now that relations between the USOC and the IOC have warmed after more than a decade of chilliness, a U.S. city would be well-positioned to win the bidding for the Games in 2024 or 2026. Recent candidates New York City and Chicago have expressed no interest in trying again, so here are the most likely options.
San Francisco: This is a favorite of many IOC members, but likely local protests over cost and new facilities could doom a bid before it begins.
Dallas: Local support runs high, but the IOC has bad memories of the 1996 Games in Atlanta, its last trip to the U.S. South. If, per tradition, a summer host needs to be a city of global prominence and appeal, this isn't it.
Boston: It has both sporting and cultural assets, but traffic is already stifling, and where would new venues be built? The need to improve infrastructure could be too much to overcome.
Los Angeles: Been there, done that—twice. Many 1984 venues are outdated, and the new IOC paradigm requires a more compact Olympic plan.
Denver: The first city ever to decline its selection to host an Olympics (in 1976, when the Games wound up in Innsbruck) is the USOC's likeliest winter pick. But a skating oval would have to be constructed, and private investment would be required to placate reluctant taxpayers.
Salt Lake City: Having survived a bribery scandal, the 2002 Games that were held there came off well. Many American athletes train and compete there, but would the IOC go back so soon?
Reno: A combined bid with Lake Tahoe would be spread out in a region that owes much of its growth to the 1960 Squaw Valley Games. Many new venues would have to be built.
ILLUSTRATION BY LYNNE CARTY (RINGS)