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San Diego 2024 Olympics in Tijuana? How a cross-border Games could work.

San Diego 2024 Olympics boosters have included events in Tijuana, Mexico, as a selling point. The USOC is reaching out to potential bid cities, and a cross-border Olympics would be a first.

By Staff writer / April 28, 2013

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama lobby for Chicago to host the 2016 summer Olympics at the International Olympic Committee Session in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009. That failed. Maybe a proposal to hold events in Tijuana, Mexico, in 2024 will help.

Gerald Herbert/AP/File

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Can one summer Olympics be held in two countries? Or in Oklahoma?

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Those are questions that have surfaced in recent days as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) looks for bid cities to host the 2024 summer Olympics.The USOC has contacted 35 cities as part of a feeling-out process.

Of those 35 cities, Tulsa, Okla., was the smallest, with only 400,000 residents. But the mayor of Tulsa is not dismissing the notion of hosting the summer Games out of hand, despite the fact that the city would need to more than triple its number of hotel rooms (to at least 45,000) and find more than $3 billion to build infrastructure like an Olympic stadium.

"I see this as a great opportunity, I really do," Mayor Dewey Bartlett told The Associated Press, encouraged by the city's success in hosting the Bassmaster Classic in February.

Perhaps the most intriguing candidate was San Diego, which has submitted a joint bid with Tijuana, Mexico.

USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun said the bid "would have its challenges," according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. "We haven't looked at it carefully. We just learned about it.”

Yet the problems might not be so difficult. No Olympic Games have been shared between two neighboring host countries, but the world of soccer has been dividing is major events between countries for years. South Korea and Japan shared the 2002 World Cup, and the European Championships were held in Austria and Switzerland in 2008 and Poland and Ukraine last year.

In Euro 2012, for example, Poland and Ukraine set up special "green lines" at customs posts on the border, which allowed fans with game tickets and nothing to declare to pass through via an expedited process.

Of course, the World Cup and European Championships are spread out at eight sites over an entire month, while the summer Olympics – while mammoth – want to be as compact as possible to limit travel for athletes, fans, and VIPs. Soccer tournaments are a string of big events evenly spaced out, while the summer Games are a constellation of small events packed together in time and space.

But San Diego and Tijuana are hardly worlds apart. The driving distance is 17 miles. For the winter Games, which have increasingly devolved into city sports (skating, hockey) and mountain sports (skiing, sliding), 17 miles would be nothing.

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