An effort to postpone the vote on which U.S. city will be "America's Choice" for the 1998 Winter Olympics failed Friday, a U.S. Olympics committee official announced at the body's quadrennial meeting this weekend.

Last week, the USOC straw-polled the six competing cities--including Salt Lake City--to determine whether the cities want to bid for the Games in June or in October. The tally: 3-3, said Mike Moran, USOC spokesman.Votes wete taken from all six candidate cities, including Anchorage, Alaska; Denver; Reno-Lake Tahoe, Nev.; Lake Placid, N.Y.; and Klamath Falls, Ore. USOC President Robert Helmick said the Administrative Committee agreed to make the selection in June as planned in Colorado Springs, Colo., headquarters of the USOC.

Helmick said the reason for polling the cities on whether to postpone the decision date was because "we were short on staff and we don't have our sight-selection committee put together."

However, some Salt Lake officials speculated that the move was initiated by competing cities which entered into the bidding process somewhat late.

"I was told the cities were Reno-Tahoe, Denver and Klamath Falls," said Salt Lake Organizing Committee Chairman Tom Welch.

Members of the Salt Lake Winter Games Organizing Committee, at the USOC meeting promoting the city as an Olympic host, said postponing the decision would have eroded the city's Olympic dreams and aided the city's Olympic competitors.

Welch said prolonging the process would have given other bidding cities, particularly latecoming Denver, more time to prepare a bid.

"There's a balance," said Helmick, "some cities might want to have more time to prepare to come to the USOC, but that means they'll have less time before the (International Olympic Committee)," he said.

The IOC will ultimately decide who hosts the Games in a 1991 vote. The USOC is meeting in Portland this weekend to take official action on a number of items. Several Salt Lake City officials are there to lobby for Salt Lake City as an Olympic host.

The USOC IS MEETING IN PORTLAND THIS WEEKEND TO TAKE OFFICIAL ACTION ON A NUMBER OF ITEMS. SEVERAL