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USOC keeps tabs on 2020 Olympic race

The U.S. Olympic Committee is observing the bidding for the 2020 Games, hoping to learn something from Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo as they try to land the Olympics.

The USOC board met Tuesday and received an update from a committee formed to decide whether the United States should try for the 2024 Games.

CEO Scott Blackmun said the USOC is in discussions with about 10 potential bid cities, hoping to narrow the list to two or three by December. The USOC has until late 2014 to decide whether to bid for 2024.

USOC chairman Larry Probst said his group is paying attention to the presentations the 2020 bidders are giving this summer. The vote for the host city is Sept. 7 at an IOC meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“As part of our potential preparation for a future bid, it’s a great learning experience,” Probst said.

The USOC placed New York in the running for the 2012 Games and Chicago for 2016; both cities were resoundingly defeated. After the last loss, international leaders said the U.S. bid was hurt as much by the USOC’s poor image as anything Chicago did, so the USOC decided to stay on the sideline for the 2020 Games, work on its international relations and consider making a pitch in the future.

Probst laughed when asked whether it was a bit of a relief to be on the sideline after the rough experiences.

“We’re looking forward to learning as much as we can between now and any potential future bid we would initiate,” he said.

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