By Rory Carroll
(Reuters) - U.S. Olympic officials are eager to see the Winter Games return to the country in 2026 or 2030 even though doing so would create challenges for Los Angeles as it prepares to host the Summer Games in 2028.
Leaders of L.A.'s bid committee have said hosting a Winter Games in the years surrounding 2028 could hurt their ability to sell corporate partnerships and infringe on its exclusive rights to use the Olympic rings in its marketing.
"During my comments at the Assembly I put a stake in the ground and said we are interested in hosting the Winter Games," USOC Chairman Larry Probst told reporters following a meeting of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly in Colorado.
"Ideally that's probably 2030 so there is no confusion with the preparations for 2028."
Probst said there was the possibility the International Olympic Committee (IOC) might award 2026 and 2030 Winter Games simultaneously, as it did this year where Paris won the 2024 Summer Games while L.A. landed the 2028 event.
"If the IOC considers the possibility of a dual award of 2026 and 2030, we certainly want to be in that conversation. We want to be at the table for that discussion," he said.
USOC would need to identify a city by next March if it decided to bid for the 2026 Games, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said.
Salt Lake City was the last U.S. city to host the Winter Games in 2002 and is expected to be in the running for any future events.
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)