LONDON – An audacious plan for the United States and Canada to team up and co-host the 2024 Olympic Games has received strong early support.
City leaders from Buffalo, N.Y., and Toronto, which are separated by 100 miles, have openly discussed the option of trying to make the 2024 Games the first OIympics to officially be staged in more than one country.
Toronto City Councilor James Pasternak has pushed the idea. He told the Toronto Sun that any bid for the Games should include partnering with an American city to cut down on the severe financial costs involved with staging the world's biggest festival of sport.
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown has sounded receptive to the idea, and representatives of the two cities will now discuss ways to take the plan forward.
"It is a novel concept," Brown said. It's "very interesting to hear about a proposal to bring an Olympics to a binational area – to come to Toronto and the city of Buffalo. I am certainly intrigued by it."
[ Related: U.S. now a safe bet to top the medal count ]
The 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, staged equestrian events in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, but only because of the travel and quarantine difficulties involved in transporting the horses. The Buffalo-Toronto idea, however, would be an official combined bid that would see events shared between the two cities.
Toronto first bid for the 1996 Olympics and reached the final three before finishing behind Athens and eventual winner Atlanta. Toronto tried again for the 2008 Games and came in second, but was well behind comfortable winner Beijing. Buffalo has never launched a bid.
The 2020 Games have not even been awarded yet, but the field has been narrowed to the Spanish capital of Madrid; Istanbul, Turkey; and Tokyo, Japan. That decision will be made at the 125th International Olympic Committee session on Sept. 7, 2013, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The last time the Summer Olympics were held in Canada, it was a financial disaster. It took the city of Montreal 30 years to pay off the debts incurred from hosting the 1976 Games.
[ Photos: Olympic venues around London ]
Sharing the financial burden would be an effective way to offset that kind of risk, but it is highly unusual.
"In normal circumstances, I would say forget about it," an IOC official told Yahoo! Sports. "But with the global [economic] downturn, it makes it possible. There is a long way to go, though, and there are going to be some big contenders."
Another surprise bid for 2024 is expected to be Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Several eastern African nations are in favor of the bid, which has the significant advantage of Africa having never hosted an Olympics.
The soccer World Cup was staged in South Africa in 2010, and the IOC is keen to find an appropriate venue on the continent.
"That one could really have some legs," the official said. "Africa is the last frontier, and it would be momentous."
Related Olympics coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
More Olympics coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Why China's Olympic success won't be declining anytime soon
• Video: Gymnastics' biggest winners and losers in 2012
• Photos: U.S. soccer star Hope Solo | Olympic bloopers