IOC president points to Italy, US bids for 2024

By ANDREW DAMPF | November 23, 2013 | 11:05 AM EST

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano Pope Francis is presented a gift by Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, in the Clementine hall at the Vatican Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. Francis told several hundred members of the European Olympic Committees that when sport "is considered only in economic terms and consequently for victory at every cost ... it risks reducing athletes to mere trading material from whom profits are extracted." The pope added that "sport is harmony but if money and success prevail as the aim this harmony crumbles." (AP Photo/L' Osservatore Romano, ho)

ROME (AP) — New IOC President Thomas Bach is pleased with the Italian government's support for a possible 2024 Olympics bid, and says it's also time for the United States to present a strong bid.

Bach was in Rome for Olympic meetings and to see Pope Francis. He also visited Italian Premier Enrico Letta.

Bach tells The Associated Press that Letta "has realized that the games can serve as a catalyst for development."

While Rome has not yet been selected, the capital is Italy's likely candidate.

Other potential 2024 bids could come from Paris; Doha, Qatar; and cities in the United States and Africa.

Bach says, "I think it's time for the United States to present a strong bid, and I'm happy to hear that the USOC is undertaking everything to prepare such a bid."