Tony Bennett


San Diego likes to call itself "America's Finest City." The nature of is location means it is geographically and culturally isolated from the rest of the civilized world. To the west, there's the ocean. To the east, desert. To the north, the U.S. Marine base at Camp Pendleton provides a buffer between the sprawl of Orange County and Los Angeles. To the south, there's literally a fence between San Diego and Tijuana.

The weather in San Diego is almost perfect. The thinking -- sometimes not so much.

All that isolation can lead to a bad case, in hindsight, of -- seriously?

The U.S. Olympic Committee on Tuesday finally delivered the dose of common sense to San Diego Mayor Bob Filner that some junior staffer in the mayor's office should have brought -- and maybe even did bring -- long ago.

San Diego and Tijuana can not bid as one for the 2024 Summer Games. The International Olympic Committee charter simply does not allow for two countries to jointly host Summer Games.

"There's no opportunity for them to bid together," USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said.

There never was any such opportunity. They absolutely knew this in San Diego, or should have. How? Because a few years back, the possibility of a San Diego-Tijuana 2016 bid came up, and was tossed out for the very same reason.

Look, even the most cursory Google search turns up this:

In 2011, the IOC president, Jacques Rogge, was asked about the notion of North Korea co-hosting the Winter Games with South Korea. This was when the South Korean city of Pyeongchang was in the midst of bidding for the 2018 Winter Games.

Rogge's answer:

"The IOC awards the Games to one city in one country. As far as spreading venues between the two countries, that's something we do not consider.

"We're not going to change the Olympic Charter because otherwise you complicate the organization."

Filner is reportedly "undaunted."

"The true spirit of the Olympics embodies my conviction that we should vigorously pursue the dream of having two countries host the Olympics in the greatest bi-national region of the world," Associated Press quoted the mayor as saying upon being told that a San Diego-Tijuana bid would be dead on arrival.

"Rules and bylaws can be changed."

Mr. Mayor, please. You should be daunted. In this instance, rules and bylaws are not going to be changed, and especially not for the United States of America -- not after Chicago got booted in the first round for 2016, and after an in-person appearance by President Obama, and New York in the second for 2012.

That is not the way the IOC works.

Nor is the IOC likely to look with favor on a bid from, say, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

AP quoted a Tulsa city councilwoman, Karen Gilbert, as describing the prospect of Tulsa bidding for the Games as a "good kind of crazy."


"It's going out there and saying, 'We want the big stuff," Gilbert said. "It doesn't hurt to shoot for the stars, you know?"

Absolutely not, Ms. Gilbert.

But here's the deal:

The USOC, as it has made plain from the start, is going to put forward a 2024 bid under one condition.

The USOC is in for 2024 if, and only if, it believes it can win.

To be gentle, because there's no point in knocking the star-shooting-for nice folks, Tulsa can not win. So there's no point in perpetuating what would otherwise be a charade.

The Summer Games are the IOC's primary franchise. Tulsa is Oklahoma's second-largest city. The Games are well beyond the scope of a city Tulsa's size.

It has 13,000 hotel rooms; the USOC demands more than 40,000. The city would have to finance and build a suitable stadium. And so on.

The USOC is going to take its sweet time this year going through the list of potential American candidates. Why? Because it can. There's no rush. The 2020 election -- Istanbul, Madrid, Tokyo -- isn't until September, and the variables involved in assessing 2024 may shift depending on how that 2020 race plays out.

It's likely, however, that in the end -- just as in the beginning -- there will be three likely choices: San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. And of those three, probably only two: San Francisco and New York.

The challenge for LA, which has played host to the 1932 and 1984 Games, is obvious -- why No. 3?

Never say never for other possibilities. Philadelphia, for instance, has a track stadium. Dallas has an array of facilities and tons of money.

But, again, if the USOC gets in, it's in to win. Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco. Stanford set a new record in 2012 in college fund-raising, becoming the first school to raise more than $1 billion in one year. The IOC is forever looking to appeal to young people and Silicon Valley is the tech capital of the world. You walk down the street in Palo Alto and you literally run into billionaires.

And -- you can't run a joint San Diego-Tijuana cross-border bid.

Some things are just super-obvious.