By Duncan Mackay

March 5 - Tulsa officials are pushing ahead with a proposed bid for the 2020 Olympics despite United States Olympic Committee (USOC) chief executive Scott Blackmun claiming that there are currently no plans to put forward a candidate to host the Games.

Blackmun told insidethegames during an exclusive interview at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver last month that they would not bid again for the Olympics until they received a strong signal from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that they stood a chance.

But Neil Mavis, the Tulsa 2020 committee leader came up with the idea of the bid last year following Chicago's unsuccessful campaign to host the 2016 Olympics, is still pursuing his plan.

He said: "I think its 100 per cent feasible."

Mavis, who admits that he has not spoken to the USOC about his ambitious plans, is currently funding the project himself along with other Tulsans who want to follow Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and take the Games there.

They are undertaking a feasibility study and remain optimistic despite early indications which show that a Games in Tulsa would be possibly the least compact in Olympic history.

Early plans include having the gymnastics at a venue 125 miles away in Norman, the volleyball 107 miles away in Oklahoma, archery and hockey 73 miles away at Tahlequah and basketball and wrestling 71 miles away in Stillwater.

The city is also a long way short of the IOC minimum requirement of 40,000 hotel rooms.

It currently has 13,000, less than a third of the necessary number.

Tulsa, is the second largest city in Oklahoma, with a population of 385,635, although that figure raises to 916,079 in the Metro area, which would still make it the smallest city to host the Olympics since Helsinki in 1952.

The feasibility study has also concluded that Tulsa airport could not handle the large increase in passenger numbers for an Olympics and would have to make use of airports in Dallas, 258 miles away.

Tulsa City councilman John Eagleton, who is is on the Olympic Exploratory Committee, claimed that they could put on the Games without having to raise any money from the local taxpayer.

He said: "[There would be] $1.5 billion (£991 million) infused into our economy over space of about eight years of which $700 million (£462 million) would be capital improvements.

"It will not be tax payer funded.


"End of sentence."

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