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Detroit turns down invitation to bid on 2024 Olympics

City of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing talks about the future of the city during an interview in his office in Detroit, Michigan February 5, 2013.
City of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing talks about the future of the city during an interview in his office in Detroit, Michigan February 5, 2013.

By Erica Hobbs

DETROIT (Reuters) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on Wednesday turned down an invitation to bid on hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics, citing "uncertainty" over the city's long-term financial stability.

One of 35 U.S. cities to receive an invitation from the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), Detroit is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and would be an unlikely candidate to host the games.

Detroit bid unsuccessfully to host the Olympics seven times between 1944 and 1972.

A statement released by Bing's office said the city's "rich history of hosting major events" and its location across the river from Canada make Detroit "an appealing candidate" to host the summer games in 2024.

"Unfortunately, due to the timing and uncertainty of Detroit's long-term financial stability, we must respectfully decline to participate," the statement said.

Bidders are required to make an up-front $10 million payment and commit to a $3 billion operating budget.

Detroit in recent years has hosted a number of major sporting events, including a National Football League Super Bowl, NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs, NBA and NCAA basketball finals and Major League Baseball's World Series.

Bing's statement comes just days after Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced a financial emergency in Detroit and his intention to appoint an emergency manager to control the city's finances.

The USOC sent invitations to bid to the nation's 25 largest cities -- Detroit is 18th -- plus an additional 10 cities that had expressed interest, in February.

At the time, the governor's office called the bid invitation "a welcomed vote of confidence" in Detroit's future.

USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said any city may bid but must meet several requirements, including having 45,000 hotel rooms, an Olympic Village that sleeps 16,500 and has a 5000-person dining hall, operations space for more than 15,000 media and broadcasters and an international airport.

The USOC has a little over two years to select a candidate to submit to the International Olympics Committee.

(Editing by Paul Lienert, Ellen Wulfhorst and Carol Bishopric)

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