Palo Alto Weekly Online Edition

Uploaded: Saturday, Nov. 2, 2002, 6:15 p.m.

Bay Area loses Olympic bid to New York
Sympathy for terrorist attacks could have swayed voters deciding U.S. city to compete for 2012 Summer Games

by Keith Peters

Sentimentality won out over good weather and good sense on Saturday when New York City beat out the Bay Area to become the U.S. candidate for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Members of the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee (BASOC) had put together a solid plan that included having 80 percent of the Olympic venues already in place, near-perfect summer weather, the best low-risk financial package, and fabulous vistas.

New York, meanwhile, countered with the prestige of the Big Apple, charismatic leadership and sympathy from last year's terrorist attacks. It is believed that sympathy apparently swayed the vote in New York's favor.

On a weighted scale of voting by the 123 members of the U.S. Olympic Committee Board of Directors, New York received 132 points out of a possible total of 223.

It was only a few days ago that it was reported New York was ifacing a financial shortfall of millions of dollars over the next few years. On Saturday, however, New York organizers assured the USOC that they have the resources and security to put on the world's biggest show in this country's largest city, and laid out an ambitious $5 billion plan that would have most of the Olympic events within the city limits.

In San Francisco and sites around the Bay Area, the news shocked those watching the Olympic announcement. Many broke into tears. Others were speechless, disbelieving of the news that ended years of hard work by local organizers who raised millions for their bid.

The decision to which city would represent the U.S. came after the New York delegation, led by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, making a case for the city still reeling from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"We have what it takes," Giuliani said. "We absolutely love big events and we will not fail you. We will do whatever it takes to bring the Olympics back to the United States."

New York will not compete against an international field that includes London, Paris, Moscow, Budapest, Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid or Seville in Spain and perhaps Berlin. That decision by the International Olympic Committee will be made in 2005.

While BASOC quickly turned its attention toward making a bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics, those chances are slim. Should New York not get the 2012 Olympics, that city automatically will become the U.S. candidate city for 2016.


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