The International Olympic Committee (IOC) manages the selection process for a city to host the Olympic summer or winter games. It is highly competitive.
Prospective host cities need to submit written proposals through the IOC representatives of their country, then they will have to answer a questionnaire by IOC.
The IOC votes on the city that will host the next Olympic Games. One city is selected to host winter games and another, which can be found in other countries, is selected to host summer games.
Six cities have been chosen to host the games so far in the United States. Los Angeles, CA, in the summers 1932-1984, Squaw Valley CA in 1960, Atlanta GA in 1996, St. Louis MO in 1904 and Lake Placid NY in the winters 1932-1980, and Salt Lake, UT, in 2002.
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles hosted two games at the Summer Olympics. These were the Xth Olympiad (1932) and the XXIII Olympiad (1984).
Los Angeles was the only city that bid in 1932 to host the games. The city was awarded the title of host by default.
The Xth Olympiad marked the first time an Olympic Village was built for the athletes and the first time a podium of three levels was used to honor the medal winners in each event.
The opening ceremony was attended by Vice President Charles Curtis, but Herbert Hoover, the United States President, declined to attend.
At the Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, 37 nations and 1,332 competitors participated in 116 events. The XXIII Olympiad, which featured 140 countries and 6,829 athletes, was inaugurated by President Ronald Reagan.
It took place again at the Memorial Coliseum. The games were boycotted by the Soviet Union in favour of the 1986 Goodwill Games.
Squaw Valley in California
In 1955, the IOC granted Squaw Valley the privilege of hosting the VIII Olympic Winter Games. The IOC spent $80 million to construct the site, the Olympic athletes village and roads that would serve the area by 1960.
When inflation is taken into account, this would have been more than half a million dollars in 2010. Richard Nixon, Vice President at that time, opened the games. 665 athletes came from 30 countries.
There were 27 events. The opening and closing ceremonies were produced by Walt Disney, while CBS was granted exclusive broadcasting rights.
Due to threats by the United States government to ban athletes from communist countries, Squaw Valley almost lost the opportunity to host the VIII Winter Olympiad.
In the VIII games, the Winter Biathlon was born. This event sees competitors compete in a ski race as well as a precision shooting contest.
Atlanta hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics. Also known as the XXVI Olympiad. A number of minor controversies surrounded the games, including overcrowding in the Olympic village and claims that the games were too commercialized.
At the Centennial Olympic Park where the games were being held, tragedy struck. A bomb went off, killing two people and injuring more than 100.
The event was opened by President Bill Clinton. It saw 10,320 athletes representing 197 countries participate in 271 events at Centennial Olympic Stadium.
St. Louis, Missouri
The III Olympiad arrived in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904. It competed for attention with the 1904 World’s Fair. David Francis, the President of Louisiana Purchase Exposition, opened the first Olympic games in America.
The Louisiana Purchase Exposition also ran the World’s Fair at the same place and time. Many of the 651 participants were from other countries who participated in the “Anthropology Days” exhibits.
Their participation in the Olympics was marred with language difficulties and cultural differences. Their presence was largely a cynical plot against Caucasians to demonstrate the superiority of Caucasian competitors.
The Olympic Games was a secondary attraction at the World’s Fair, and did not gain much attention. While 12 countries attended the Olympics, most of the 91 Olympics events featured only Americans.
The III Olympiad was so badly run, it almost ended the Olympics. The III summer games provided a host of other events that are now part of the Olympic Games, despite these difficulties.
These were a series ten track and fields races, including the boxing, weight lifting and freestyle wrestling.
Lake Placid, New York
Los Angeles was twice the Olympic Games’ host, while Lake Placid in New York hosted them twice. It was the III Winter Olympiad (1932) and the XIII Winter Olympiad (1980). The III winter Olympiad was first US city to host the Olympic Games.
The III winter Olympiad was opened by Franklin D Roosevelt, the future President of the United States, who did not attend, as he did with Los Angeles games later that year. At the Lake Placid Speedskating Oval, 222 athletes representing 17 countries took part in 14 events.
Vice President Walter Mondale opened XIII Winter Olympiad in the same city. 1,072 athletes representing 37 countries participated in 38 events at Lake Placid Equestrian Stadium.
Salt Lake City (Utah)
In 2002, 2,399 athletes representing 77 countries competed in the XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
The games were opened by President George W Bush of the United States at Rice-Eccles Stadium. During the XIX Games, there were 78 events in 15 sports.
The United States President opened the winter games for the first time. Four years prior to the opening of the winter games, controversy broke out when it was discovered that IOC members had taken bribes (SLOC) from the Salt Lake Olympic Committee to influence their voting.
Gay rights groups tried to prevent the Olympics from being hosted in Salt Lake City, as Utah had passed a law prohibiting gay marriage.