Welcome back, folks!  Okay, well, that's more to me than anything else.  It has been a lengthy time away, and the change-over back to me (the original author) is complete!

That said, there have been a lot of developments in the USOC's plans for the 2024 Summer Olympics.  On Tuesday, the USOC sent out letters to the mayors of 35 cities in the US.  Here is the list:

Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Washington D.C., Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Rochester, Sacramento, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis and Tulsa. (from The Dallas Morning News)
According to the source above, the list was generated based on population (the 25 largest cities made the cut automatically) and on previously indicated interest in hosting the Olympics (the remaining 10).

Minneapolis made the list.

How the mayor responds isn't entirely clear, but we can have a say.  By the time 2024 rolls around, it will have been 28 years since the Atlanta games.  This, of course, depends on how seriously the USOC and the local organizing committee takes their chances and applies themselves.  And this is where we need to make some noise.

As the citizens of this city and state and supporters of the Olympic movement in general, we've got to take some activism.  We have a voice, and we've got to make it heard.  First and foremost, get in touch with the Minneapolis mayor and city councilYou can contact Mayor Rybak here and members of the Minneapolis City Council here.  Next, contact your state legislators.  You can find your representation by entering your physical address at the District Finder webpage.  Email, call, or mail your legislators.  Let them know that you support hosting the Olympics in Minneapolis. 

Let's make it happen!!
On Wednesday, January 25th, a letter was sent to Governor Mark Dayton advocating for a bid by Minneapolis to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.  This is the text of that letter:

"Dear Governor Dayton:

"In this the first week of the 2012 legislative session, I am writing you with an additional consideration for the Vikings stadium plans, one that will serve the greater good of the Twin Cities in particular and of Minnesota as a whole: the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad, the 2024 Summer Olympics.

"Bringing the Olympics to Minnesota is an ambitious goal, but it is one that can be achieved.  Minneapolis has tried twice before, once for the 1952 Games when it lost to host city Helsinki, and once for the 1996 Games when it lost the USOC vote to Atlanta.  In 2024, Minneapolis will succeed.  By 2024, it will have been 22 years since the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and 28 years since the Summer Olympics in Atlanta; the IOC will have to take any candidate city from the US seriously.  Additionally, by 2024 the Twin Cities will have hosted several national and international events, including the 2011 National Gymnastics Championships, 2015 National Senior Games and the 2016 Ryder cup as well as the annual Twin Cities Marathon—all of which will prove the City’s capability to host an event like the Olympics.

"Minneapolis has several other attributes that make it appealing as a host city.  Its venues require either little or no adjustment.  Facilities like the Target Center, Xcel Energy Center, and Hazeltine National Golf Club have hosted many major events and are ready to do so again.  Other venues—such as the Warner Coliseum, Minneapolis Convention Center, and National Sports Center in Blaine—are just a minor remodeling away from being Olympic-ready.  Most new venues would be temporary, the exception being a brand new Vikings stadium serving as the main Olympic Stadium.  A list of possible venues is attached.  The citizens of Minnesota have also proved supportive.  A Facebook group supporting a bid for the 2020 Olympics garnered support from almost 100,000 users in a few months.  Coverage by the local media spurred interest throughout the Cities and State as talk of the 2020 Games circulated. 

"As with any issue in our state, literal purse strings are attached.  Money is a factor, and Olympic Games are expensive ventures.  The Telegraph reports the current total budget for all aspects of the London Games is over £9 billion (or $14 billion).  This includes all infrastructure improvements, all venue construction and remodeling, all operational costs, and all personnel costs, as well as maintenance during and after this year’s Olympics.  But Minneapolis already has some of this funding in place, and some of these projects (e.g. the Central Corridor LRT) will develop with or without an Olympics.  Should the Olympics be awarded to Minneapolis, the City will not face the cost alone.  In 2002, the federal government contributed nearly half of the then $2.7 billion budget for hosting the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. 

"While the cost of the Olympics cannot be overlooked, neither can its benefits, particularly on the world stage.  “Recognizing that our government spends billions of dollars to maintain wartime capability, it is entirely appropriate to invest several hundred millions to promote peace,” remarked then president of the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee Mitt Romney.   Minneapolis will make a grand introduction on the international scene by welcoming people from around the globe in peace.  Minneapolitans and Minnesotans alike will benefit from improved infrastructure and a rise in tourism.  The city and state may even benefit directly in financial terms; the 1984 Games in Los Angeles made more than $100 million for that city.  Most importantly, though, a brand new home for the Vikings and a set of Olympic-class venues will transform Minneapolis into the capital of sports in the Upper Midwest. 

"In 2024, the Olympic Games will come to Minneapolis, but only with your help.  As plans for the Vikings stadium pan out, I urge you to think big.  We are at a crossroads in our state, and we should merge our interests in the Vikings with the plans of the City of Minneapolis and the goals of our state.  Setting a common goal—hosting the Olympic Games—will do just that.  As a resident of this great state and a native of the Twin Cities, I urge you to bring the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad to Minneapolis in 2024.

"Thank you for your consideration."