The U.S. Olympic Committee announced Wednesday it intends to visit five cities, including Los Angeles, as it gauges whether to launch a bid for the 2016 Games.
Houston is due for a visit on May 8; Philadelphia on May 9; Chicago on May 10, and L.A. and San Francisco on May 18.
New York, the failed U.S. bid for the 2012 Games, which the International Olympic Committee awarded last year to London, is not on the list. It is out of the running for 2016.
The IOC is due to pick the 2016 site in 2009. A U.S. city probably would be a strong contender after Games in London in 2012, Beijing in 2008, Athens in 2004 and Sydney in 2000. The Summer Games were last staged in the United States in 1996, in Atlanta.
The USOC holds "strong interest" in a 2016 bid, Chairman Peter Ueberroth said. At the same time, he said, unless the USOC can form a "partnership" with a city "that can put together the right ingredients, it would be a foolhardy mission."
The keys, said Bob Ctvrtlik, the USOC's vice president for international affairs: "Close cooperation" with the USOC. And a city that not only "can win internationally" but is ready "to enter this for the right reason, which is the promotion of sport."
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, only one day removed from pitching the Coliseum as a potential destination for the NFL, said Wednesday he considers the notion of the Games returning to L.A., site of the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics, "a great thing."
The Coliseum's NFL remodeling plans have long been premised on the possibility the facility could also be reworked -- the current estimate runs to perhaps $20 million -- to install a track suitable for the Olympics.
Villaraigosa and Barry Sanders, leader of the 2016 L.A. campaign, pledged that the session May 18 would be low-key.
Said Villaraigosa: "In the best tradition of the Olympics, they want a plain and simple presentation -- without the frills that previous dog-and-pony shows have had."