Toronto to pass on 2024 Games; L.A. only N. American bidder

TORONTO -- Mayor John Tory said Toronto will be a great venue for the Olympics one day.

Just not in 2024.

Tory said Tuesday that Canada's largest city is going to stay out of the race for the 2024 Olympics because he felt it wasn't the best use of the city's time and money right now and said "nobody was rushing forward with their checkbooks."

Tory had until Tuesday to write a letter to the International Olympic Committee to express interest.

The declared bidders for 2024 include Los Angeles; Paris; Rome; Budapest, Hungary; and Hamburg, Germany.

Toronto's declining to bid is good news for Los Angeles, as it becomes the only North American bidder. The winning city will be chosen in 2017.

The mayor of Canada's financial capital began researching the feasibility of a bid after Toronto hosted the Pan Am Games this past summer. Canada spent about $2.5 billion Canadian ($2 billion) to organize the Pan Am Games -- the most expensive in history -- and has several Olympic-style venues in place.

After an initial wave of enthusiasm for an Olympic bid, many expressed concerns about the cost.

Tory cited a lack of corporate enthusiasm for a privately financed bid and no firm support from the province of Ontario, which had been focused on the Pam Am Games. He had a long conference call with the IOC on Sunday and said he consulted widely.

"I think time was against us in the context of building that kind of support you have to have from the community, including business, to make this work," Tory said.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams also blamed timing.

"We realize that time was too short for such a detailed project to get the necessary support in just a few weeks following the successful Pan Am Games. The International Olympic Committee highly appreciates what Toronto has done as it continues to work on a future candidacy," Adams told The Associated Press.

"We understand that the Canadian Olympic Committee is determined to have a Canadian candidature for the Olympic Games in the near future, and they will continue to work on such a candidacy.

"The IOC appreciates this because we know about the great potential Canada has for the organization of Olympic Games."

The Canadian Olympic Committee, which had been urging Toronto to enter the race, said it respected the mayor's decision but remains optimistic Toronto could and should host a future Olympics.

"The Canadian Olympic Committee is determined to have the Olympics back in the country at the earliest opportunity," the statement said.

Quebec City is expected to bid for the 2026 Winter Games. Tory is forming an advisory group to examine the merits of bidding for a future Olympics or a soccer World Cup.

Toronto has failed twice in recent decades with Olympic bids. It lost out to Atlanta for the 1996 Games and to Beijing for 2008. Also etched in the country's memory are the 1976 Montreal Games, which ran up a $1.5 billion debt that took the city 30 years to pay off.