State, 9 others await weekend bid cut

October 19, 1990|By Bill Glauber OLYMPIC FESTIVAL

Maryland officials will learn this weekend whether they still are in the running to play host to the United States Olympic Festival in 1993, 1994 or 1995.

The list of 10 bid cities will be cut to five or six at the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors and Executive Committee meeting in Durham, N.C., today through Sunday.

"We're all in the same boat," said James Narron, head of the Maryland delegation. "No one bid gets a perfect 10 on all the facilities. Everyone has a good chance to advance."

Aside from Maryland, bids have been received from Denver, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Portland, Ore., St. Louis and San Antonio. Once the field is cut, USOC representatives will visit each city, and the final three sites will be announced in February.

The 10-day Olympic Festival lures thousands of athletes and hundreds of thousands of fans, and it could bring tens of millions of dollars into the state. The Festivals are held during the years between Summer Olympic Games. The next three-year cycle -- 1993 through 1995 -- will precede the 1996 Atlanta Games.

"Having the Olympic Festival in Maryland can be a great showpiece for the Olympic Committee," Narron said. "They can bring congressmen in and cross-market the event."

Towson State, UMBC and the University of Maryland serve as hub sites in the state's bid.

"We're not here just to run the event and leave," Narron said. "We want to leave a legacy. We want to make our local sports organizations stronger, and we want to continue to develop amateur athletics."

Events would also be held at the Baltimore Arena and the Capital Centre, with sailing competitions on the Eastern Shore, equestrian events in Prince George's County and white-water events in Western Maryland.

"To me, holding the event [throughout Maryland] is not a negative," said Don Porter, chairman of the USOC's Olympic Festival Committee. "Hopefully, the committee will look at the total bid."

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