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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Friday, June 08, 2001

A bid to host a dream A bid to host a dream (June 08, 2001)

Stanford could be a centerpiece if 2012 bid secured

by Keith Peters

If the dreams of a group of Bay Area visionaries come true, Stanford University could be the centerpiece of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Among the plans revealed Wednesday by the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee (BASOC) is turning Stanford Stadium into a 100,000-seat venue that would serve as the site for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Games, as well as for all track and field competition.

"The timing is right for a new stadium," said Anne Cribbs, president of BASOC. "It would be a great legacy to leave."

Cribbs stressed, however, that everything is just in the preliminary stages. Nothing is being built until it's time to move ahead.

"A bid is a bid," she said. "That's all it is."

Should the Bay Area eventually win the bid to play host to the 2012 Games, Stanford will figure prominently in hosting a number of Olympic sports.

First and foremost is having the site of the Olympic Stadium, one of the two most significant developments in BASOC's 700-page Olympic bid. The other is the Olympic Village, which would be built on a 75-acre parcel of land at Moffett Field at a cost of $816 million.

While the Olympic Village would be built from the bottom up, Stanford Stadium would undergo a planned $300 million renovation that would include a new track and, most likely, individual seating among the many improvements. BASOC and Stanford would split the $300 million pricetag to make the stadium a showpiece.

While it was questioned whether it would be better to tear down Stanford Stadium and build a spanking new facility, Cribbs said that wasn't in the plans.

"At this point," she said, "we're talking renovation."

While Stanford Stadium would undergo a major facelift, other Olympic venues at Stanford are all set. Maples Pavilion is targeted for badminton, Sunken Diamond would host softball and Avery Aquatic Center would host water polo. Competition in the modern pentathlon would be held at all three locations.

While Stanford has constructed perhaps the finest diving and swimming facility in the country, those sports plus synchronized swimming are scheduled for the George Haines International Swim Center in Santa Clara because of better seating.

Stanford also is the planned site for a media village as well as one for judges and referees.

Everything, of course, is contingent upon the Bay Area receiving a bid to be the U.S. city to host the 2012 Games. The Bay Area is one of eight metropolitan areas bidding for the Olympics. The others are Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Cincinnati, Tampa, Fla., and Washington, D.C.

U.S. Olympic Committee officials have scheduled an August inspection tour of the Bay Area. The USOC will announce its candidate city in September of 2002.

The U.S. candidate city will be presented to the International Olympic Committee in the spring of 2004 and the IOC will select the host city for the 2012 Summer Games in the fall of 2005.

BASOC officials said Wednesday, however, that they have put together the best U.S. bid for the Games that would be held July 27-August 12, 2012.

According to bid director Bob Stiles, 78 percent of the venues already exist. That's an enticing element for Olympic officials who do not want cities to spend billions of dollars building facilities.

BASOC, in fact, is dedicated to privately funding the 2012 Games. On Wednesday, for example, the organizing committee received a commitment from Providian to provide $200,000 toward bringing the Games here.

"We're proud to join Bay Area leaders, BASOC and thousands of volunteers in a commitment to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to the San Francisco Bay Area," said Jim Wunderman, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Providian Financial Corporation, which is based in San Francisco.

"What better place to host an Olympic Games than here in the Bay Area," said Cribbs, a Stanford graduate and member of the 1960 USA Olympic women's swim team that competed in Rome. There, she won a gold medal on the 400-meter medley relay squad.

Cribbs has been the driving force behind the process to bring the Olympics to the Bay Area.

"We believe that this bid's comprehensive planning and detail will clearly show the United States Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee that there's no better place in the world to host the 2012 Olympic Games than in the San Francisco Bay Area."

"This is the best bid, assembled by our best people, to bring the world's greatest event to the world's greatest city and region," said San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

Among the highlights of the nearly 700-page bid submitted to the USOC were:

According to conservative revenue and expenditure models and allowing for substantial contingency reserves, the Olympic Games would generate $2.8 billion in direct revenues to cover $2.2 billion in projected expenses, including legacy projects and youth sports opportunites.

A San Francisco Bay Area Olympic Games would catalyze over $1 billion in private capital investments for construction of the environmentally sustainable Olympic Village and construction and improvement of sports venues.

The Olympic Village at Moffett Field would provide ideal housing conditions for Olympians during the Games and serve as a model for sustainable, environmentally friendly, transit-accessible, affordable, in-fill housing for the region after the Games.

The Olympic Games would create a legacy of improved venues around the region and new facilities for tennis on Treasure Island, shooting in San Jose, slalom canoeing and kayaking in Sacramento and an an Equestrian Park in Monterey.


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