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.
The three 2020 candidates made presentations at an international sports conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, last month and make their next pitches to members of the International Olympic Committee on July 3.
Blackmun conceded the USOC thought it was in much better shape going into the 2012 and 2016 votes than it actually was. Heading into the 2016 vote, U.S. leaders thought they were a front-runner, or at least in the top two of the four candidates, but Chicago was the first city voted out.
He declined to speculate about what the USOC might learn through the 2020 process, but said each of those three cities has "put together a compelling bid and we look forward to seeing the results."
The USOC this year sent letters to 35 American cities in February to gauge interest in a potential run for 2024.
Los Angeles, the host of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics, has said it would be interested. Blackmun has said New York would be a compelling candidate if it decides to try. Chicago has said it doesn't want to try again. Blackmun said he's not talking publicly about specific cities, wanting to avoid a costly domestic bidding process. Chicago spent about $90 million in the 2016 race.
A U.S. candidate for 2024 could have competition from Paris and a city in South Africa. The Olympics have never been held in Africa.