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Rochester: An Olympic City?

Posted at: 02/20/2013 4:44 PM
Updated at: 02/20/2013 5:32 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren

The U.S. Olympic Committee says that Rochester has been named one of 35 cities they're considering for the 2024 Summer Olympic bid. The Olympic committee said they sent a letter to Mayor Tom Richards asking if he'd be interested in getting on board.

The letter says “We explore this exciting possibility, we are actively seeking to gauge the interest of U.S. Cities that may have the ability to host an event with the scope and scale of the Olympic games.”

News10NBC called the USOC and asked why Rochester was chosen. They couldn't say, but what they did say is that the top 25 largest cities in the U.S. Were chosen first then the next were chosen because they “expressed interested.”

But neither the mayor nor the county executive's office nor Visit Rochester said they were the ones who did it. So what if Rochester is chosen to bid on the 2024 Olympics?

News10NBC talked with former Olympic gold medal speed skater Cathy Turner. While Cathy agrees the idea caught her completely off guard and she's not sure our city could afford to create the infrastructure needed, she says, "Hey, why not?"
     
News10NBC also talked with Mayor Tom Richards. He says he didn't expressed interest to the Olympic committee, but he did receive the letter.  He says a city our size probably couldn't handle it and couldn't afford it.
Mayor Tom Richards, City of Rochester, said, “I think that's nice but as a practical matter, we're not really in the running.”

Cathy Turner, former Olympic speed skater, said, “I'm a 'never say never' kind of person, so 'hey, why not try'. And we have the surrounding areas. We have some good solid cities with Buffalo and Syracuse and surrounding areas. I think if we spread it out, it definitely is possible.”

The deadline for any of the 35 cities to bid is a little more than two years from now. The USOC says they want to identify the city that has the right infrastructure and financial resources. The host city needs to have 45,000 available hotel rooms. Monroe County only has 7,265 rooms. They also need a workforce of 200,000. The entire population of Rochester is 210,000. They could put almost every city resident to work. We would have to create an Olympic village that sleeps 16,500 and has a dining hall for 5,000. And of course, we'd have to have public transportation to get to every single venue.