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Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Houston, Philly, L.A., Chicago, San Francisco on list

Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- U.S. Olympic Committee representatives will visit Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco over the next two weeks to begin scouting cities for a possible bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

New York, however, was not on the list -- a sign the city doesn't want to try for the next available Olympics after its failure to land the 2012 Games.

The announcement of the itinerary Wednesday was the next step in the U.S. bid process, which will be streamlined this year under the direction of the USOC. The International Olympic Committee will pick a city in 2009.

USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth, chief executive Jim Scherr and newly appointed international vice president Bob Ctvrtlik will travel to the cities and meet with leaders.

The schedule is Houston on Monday, Philadelphia on Tuesday, Chicago on Wednesday and Los Angeles and San Francisco on May 18. USOC officials will meet with the mayors of each of the cities, which will lead delegations of no more than 10 representatives from the public and private sectors.

"The process of bidding to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games is more competitive today than ever before, and the increased level of competition requires a new approach and fresh thinking on the part of the USOC," Ueberroth said. "These meetings are an important step in a new process we are following to determine when to bid, how to more effectively bid and with whom to bid."

A U.S. city isn't guaranteed to make a bid, though there is a feeling 2016 might be America's best chance to land an Olympics before 2028. Cities in South America and Africa, two continents that have never held Olympics, are gearing up for 2020 and 2024.

The idea of a country scouting out its own city for a bid is customary in most places, but not so in the United States. Ueberroth said last month he was determined to change that. One widely held belief for New York's failure to land the 2012 Games was that the city's lack of cohesiveness with the country's Olympic committee didn't play well with the International Olympic Committee.