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Palo Alto Weekly Online Edition
Uploaded: Thursday, Aug. 29, 2002, 1:20 p.m.

Clock ticking for Bay Area in race to be Olympic finalist
Plenty of work ahead in effort to beat out New York

by Keith Peters

The clock is ticking. There are just 65 days left until the Bay Area, or New York City, is named as the U.S. city to compete against an international field for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

So, there is still work to be done by the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee (BASOC) as it fine-tunes the bid it will present to the 123-member United States Olympic Committee (USOC) board of directors, which will vote Nov. 3 on which city gets to go before the International Olympic Committee to try and win the Summer Games.

BASOC has 39 days to submit a 100-page executive summary and an accompanying video, due at USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., by Oct. 8.

However, considering that BASOC must make a one-hour presentation to the board of directors on Oct. 3, that deadline is shortened to 33 days to finish the preparations.

"We don't have much time," said Palo Alto's Anne Cribbs, president and CEO of BASOC. "But, I'm confident we'll get it done in stellar fashion."

Cribbs said Wednesday night the summary is about 65 percent complete. Once that is finished, BASOC will turn its attention to the presentation that includes track-and-field Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder Michael Johnson ("and other surprises," Cribbs said), and an eight-minute video.

The summary, a 50-page two-sided document, is "our best idea. It's what we want them to know," Cribbs said. "This is not the site committee. This is the board of directors. They haven't seen our bid, so it's an educational process all over again."

The Bay Area and New York reached this point in the Olympic bid process on Tuesday after Washington, D.C./Baltimore and Houston were eliminated following a vote of a 13-person USOC Bid Evaluation Task Force. The announcement was made at a news conference at the O'Hare Hilton hotel in Chicago.

"It was not unanimous, but it was a clear consensus," the USOC's Charles H. Moore said of the choice of his committee. "Everyone on the task force supported the decision."

Moore said the Bay Area and New York won out because both have the best chance to win against an international field.

"International allure is one way of looking at it," Moore said. "We're looking at a city that can win."

New York's bid offers plentiful tourist accommodations, an extensive massive transit network and a diverse immigrant history. The Bay Area counters with its mild summer weather, natural scenic beauty and strong political support that includes hundreds of current and former U.S. Olympians.

The Bay Area's bid effort this week, in fact, was enhanced by letters of endorsement from 14 current or former U.S. Olympic swim and track-and-field coaches -- including Stanford women's swim coach Richard Quick.

Said Moore: "What's not to be impressed about San Francisco? We think San Francisco has one of the strongest international strategies."

Moore said the USOC task force would sell that strategy to the world.

BASOC reorganized its plan over the past few months and moved several venue sites. Now, 92 percent of the proposed venues in the Bay Area would be within 32 miles of the Olympic Village at Moffett Field. The biggest task, arguably, would be the renovation of Stanford Stadium, the proposed site of the opening and closing ceremonies and the track-and-field competition.

"I think we can match up well with New York," said BASOC bid director Bob Stiles, who previously handled 1984 Olympic soccer and 1994 World Cup soccer -- both at Stanford -- and was in charge of all soccer venues for the 1999 women's World Cup in the United States. "We have all the international appeal New York does. We have a great international tradition. We have great weather and a great financial plan."

While New York plans on spending $2.7 billion on the Games with a profit margin of $250 million, the Bay Area bid projects a $2.4 billion price tag and $409 million profit.

The winner of the bi-coastal battle between the Bay Area and New York next will endure a 2 1/2-year international campaign to win approval from the IOC against the likes of Paris, London, Moscow, Toronto, Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (site of the 2007 Pan American Games).

A potential stumbling block would be if Vancouver, B.C., is awarded the 2010 Winter Olympics. Vancouver was joined by Bern (Switzerland), Pyeongchang (Korea), and Salzburg (Austria) as finalists on Wednesday. If Vancouver wins out, the IOC might not want to return an Olympic Games to North America just two years later.

The USOC, however, downplayed that argument, noting that the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville (France) and '92 Summer Games in Barcelona (Spain) were just an eight-hour drive apart. In addition, the 2004 Summer Games will be in Athens (Greece) and the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin (Italy).

To those who believe the IOC won't put two Olympic Games in North America just two years apart, Cribbs said: "We actually don't believe that. I think history is on our side in that case. I think the IOC wants to pick the best spot."

Continuing coverage of the Bay Area Olympic bid:
http://www.PaloAltoOnline.com/news_features/olympics2012/index.shtml

 

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