SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ The U.S. Olympic Committee trimmed the list of American cities in the running to be host of the 2012 Summer Olympics on Friday, picking Houston, New York, San Francisco and Washington.
Eight cities were competing. Dropped from contention were Dallas, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and Tampa, Fla.
The USOC will choose which of the four finalists will be the American candidate in November 2002. The International Olympic Committee will name the host city in 2005.
Charles H. Moore, chairman of the bid evaluation task force, said it was a close contest, but the four survivors were approved unanimously by a 12-member review panel that met this week.
``This has been an inspiring journey,'' Moore said. ``Each city is better from the process, and so is the USOC.
New York, battered by last month's terror attacks and ongoing anthrax scares, was considered a sentimental front-runner.
New York's bid also got a boost this week when the state Legislature passed a law providing a $250 million guarantee if the games end up losing money.
Houston has a similar financial guarantee, as did Tampa. All four cities still in the running must post guarantees by Nov. 30.
Regardless of which American city is nominated, it will probably be part of a crowded field of contenders from other countries.
Potential bidders include Rome; Paris; London; Moscow; Toronto; Madrid, Spain; Budapest, Hungary; Istanbul, Turkey; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and possibly an African candidate.