June 14, 2013
(ATR) Washington D.C. will host the biggest meeting for the Olympic Movement, outside the Olympic Games. The U.S. capital has been selected to hold the 2015 General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees, a meeting that could draw 1,000 or more.
U.S. Olympic Committee chair Larry Probst made the pitch for the ANOC assembly in Lausanne, where the group is holding its 2013 meeting this weekend.
“I think it’s another demonstration of the USOC commitment to engage and support the Olympic Movement on an international basis,” Probst tells Around the Rings .
The last time ANOC was held in the U.S. was 1994, in Atlanta, ahead of the 1996 Games. The meeting gathers representatives from the 204 current National Olympic Committees and would likely include a meeting of the IOC Executive Board. To be timed for October or early November, the meeting will come three months after the IOC selects the host for the 2022 Winter Games.
The meeting is the latest feather in the caps of Probst and USOC CEO Scott Blackmun to secure events for the U.S. to host as a way to raise its international profile ahead of a new bid for the Olympics.
If the U.S. decides to go for the 2024 Olympics, the U.S. nominee for that race will have been decided by then, giving the USOC the benefit of the Washington meeting to curry favor internationally.
“It’s our nation’s capital, it’s a diverse and dynamic city, it’s easy to travel to, travel around once you’re there,” says Probst, almost sounding like a pitch for Washington to become the nominee.
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, New York City, Philadelphia and Boston have been mentioned as possible candidates for 2024 from the U.S. Washington with Baltimore were considered for the race for 2012, that nod going to New York instead.
But Probst demurred on any implications for a U.S. bid from hosting the ANOC assembly, saying “I don’t think the two are necessarily connected”.
But others see the selection of the U.S. for ANOC as a crucial next step for a bid.
“This is mega, mega,” says Patrick Hickey, ANOC vice president and president of the European Olympic Committees, who adds that Probst’s presentation Friday to the ruling ANOC Council was “impressive”.
The Washington Hilton will be the site for the assembly. The 2014 ANOC Assembly will be held in the Thai resort of Changmai and the 2016 meeting will be in Rio de Janeiro before the Olympics later that year.
Written and reported in Lausanne by Ed Hula in AROUND THE RINGS