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Publication Date: Friday, July 12, 2002
COMMUNITY

Locals woo Olympic committee Locals woo Olympic committee (July 12, 2002)

Area's sights, sounds and gizmos used in campaign for 2012 Olympics

by Anne Becker

It all comes down to this weekend. A visit by the United States Olympic Committee will determine whether Stanford University and the rest of the Bay Area have any chance at hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee, a group trying to bring the Games to San Francisco and the Bay Area, described details of Sunday and Monday's tightly scheduled, "down to business" visit at a press conference at Stanford on Wednesday.

The committee is comprised of 110 board members, including Olympians, athletes, civic leaders, and notable business, nonprofit and education and community leaders.

The U.S. Olympic Committee's visit is the second and last before narrowing down the remaining U.S. bid cities from four to two in September. On Sunday, Bay Area officials will highlight the local area's assets in a luncheon with San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, a boat tour of Bay Area venues, a presentation in Stanford's Rodin Gardens, and a reception at the Westin St. Francis Hotel on Union Square. On Monday, U.S. Olympic Committee officials will grill Bay Area committee members on the details of their bid.

"This weekend is our last, best, and only chance to make our case," said former Olympic swimmer Anne Cribbs, president and CEO of the Bay Area Organizing Committee. "We know we'll have a great visit. We have been planning for months and we have a great team working on this."

U.S. Olympic officials visited the Bay Area last September to begin evaluating the area as a candidate for the Games. The Bid Evaluation Task Force recently completed site visits to the other three remaining U.S. Bid Cities -- Washington, D.C., New York and Houston. They will announce the final U.S. candidate for the Olympics on Nov. 2. The International Olympic Committee will select the host city for the 2012 Games in 2005.

During this weekend's visit, U.S. committee members will try out a pocket computer that Bay Area committee officials say will play an integral technological role in the 2012 Olympics. The iPAQ computer, produced by corporate sponsor Hewlett Packard, will allow athletes and visitors to constantly access information like event times, scores, and train schedules, as well as keep in constant e-mail communication with others.

Cribbs said the iPAQ, which will feature personalized interactive programming called "My Olympic Games," has always been a part of the local committee's vision for incorporating technology into the 2012 Games, and pointed out technology's central role in the Bay Area.

"(The iPAC) shows off our technical abilities and the ability to use technology to bring the world together through sport," she said. "It's a testament to what people in the Bay Area can do and the resources that we can bring together."

Bill Schlough, the Bay Area committee's technology theme leader and CTO of the San Francisco Giants, said he thought the device would impress U.S. Olympic officials.

"We talked enough about technology (on the USOC's previous visit) and now it's time to show the committee what we can do," he said.

Technology is one of 19 central "themes" in "The Bridge to the Future," the Bay Area committee's campaign to host the 2012 Olympics. Among the other themes are environmental qualities, competition venues and cultural legacy.

Ted Leland, Stanford's athletic director, said chief among the Bay Area's qualifications as an Olympic host are good conditions for athletes and a conservative financial strategy that focuses on using existing venues instead of spending money to build new facilities. Leland said the Bay Area's bid had the best chance of bringing the Summer Olympics back to the United States for the first time since 1996.

Leland said though the Olympics are not for another 10 years, Bay Area officials have been busy this summer preparing for the weekend's visit.

"This is a huge weekend for us," he said. "We're on the edge of our chairs. We're nervous and excited and trying to put our best foot forward. We know we have the best bid and that we can host a fabulous Olympics."


 

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