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In the hyper-competitive contest to host the 2016 Olympics, Los Angeles’ bid to hold a third Summer Games could come down to its international image, U.S. Olympic Committee officials said Thursday. Los Angeles is one of five semifinal U.S. cities under consideration for the Games, but U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Peter Ueberroth said the panel wants to choose a city that will sway a majority of the 120-member International Olympic Committee. “Los Angeles is an exciting city, this whole region is an exciting place to be. But it all gets down to 60 votes, just 60 votes,” he said, citing the number of IOC votes needed for a city to win its bid. The U.S. panel this week has been touring cities vying to host the Games – Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco – and Ueberroth said it ultimately will poll foreign countries where IOC voters live to gauge which city gets the strongest positive response. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsSeveral international cities also are seeking to host the 2016 Games, and Ueberroth said the U.S. committee won’t make a bid if it doesn’t think a U.S. city has a shot at winning. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a team of business and political leaders met with the panel for two hours Thursday and Villaraigosa said he touted the city’s infrastructure, diversity and past Olympic experience. “We extolled the virtues of this great city,” Villaraigosa said. “We have most of the venues already built out for the Olympics. We have a huge fan base here. There’s a great tradition of sports here in Southern California that is different from any other city.” The mayor said L.A.’s presentation focused on the city’s international flavor, with large immigrant communities and 130 different languages spoken. That might help the city – and the USOC – in a competition to woo the International Olympics Committee. The United States has struggled to win IOC votes in recent years. New York City garnered just 13 votes for the 2012 competition, which ultimately went to London. “I think Los Angeles will play well in international polling,” said Mike Shires, an assistant professor at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. Los Angeles has a strong public-relations outreach through Hollywood, and memories largely have faded of the riots following the videotaped police beating of Rodney King. Plus, Shires said, L.A. gained enormous good will with the Olympic community after it hosted the 1984 Summer Games. “It was one of those games that everybody wished they could have had,” he said. Officials also already know that international travelers like L.A. because it’s the country’s second-most-popular tourist destination – after New York City – and a major immigration center. “I think it’s without question they would see this as an advantage to attendance-building and community acceptance, and to the willingness of the community to open itself up to accepting the Games,” said Michael Collins, executive vice president of LA Inc., the city’s convention and visitors bureau. Still, the global community and the Olympic member countries might not look favorably on U.S. politics and business culture right now, said David Carter, executive director of the Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California. “The question is how will the International Olympic Committee view any of the five potential cities? Is there so much disdain for us now that it doesn’t matter which city is put forth?” In its meeting Thursday with L.A. officials, the U.S. Olympic Committee outlined city requirements, challenges of the bidding process and the importance of a strong partnership between the city and the USOC. The mayor’s delegation included billionaire investor Ronald W. Burkle, Panda Express founder Andrew Cherng, Councilman Bernard Parks, California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez and Tim Leiweke, who heads Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns Staples Center. The committee will decide in the summer of 2007 which city to recommend for consideration by the International Olympic Committee – if the USOC decides to bid at all. Each country can nominate only one city, and the IOC’s choice is expected in the summer of 2009. Ueberroth noted L.A. has some deficiencies, but he wouldn’t elaborate on them or reveal bid requirements other than to say city efforts must be privately funded. “We don’t want to impact the taxpayer,” he said. L.A. leaders wouldn’t offer an estimated price tag for the Games, saying it was too early to speculate. Barry Sanders, chairman of the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, said the cost of the bid alone could run between $10 million and $20 million – all raised by private donations. Sanders said the Games themselves likely would cost less for L.A. than other cities because of its existing sports facilities. “We don’t need to build buildings. We have some, a very few, that we would have to build, but it would be a fraction of that cost.” email@example.com (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!