Mayors, business leaders announce opening of drive to draw 2012 Games Region tries to win nod over eight other U.S. cities

Olympics

July 01, 1998|By Lowell E. Sunderland | Lowell E. Sunderland,SUN STAFF

Political and business leaders from Baltimore and Washington formally, but with much optimism, launched a joint effort yesterday intended to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to this region.

If by 2002 the effort beats out eight other U.S. cities for this country's nomination and then international competitors, which won't be known until 2005, the rewards could be huge.

At stake are world renown, as well as thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in private and public investment.

Knowing that, business executives from both metro areas already have committed to spending $6 million on the bid, knowing that expense could double. No tax money will be used in the bidding, although an unknown amount would be needed if the bid succeeds.

"This bid is about winning," said Mary E. Junck, executive vice president and president of Eastern Newspapers for Times Mirror Co., parent company of The Sun. Junck, who spoke for the business leaders yesterday, was one of those behind the effort to persuade executives in both metropolitan areas to replace competing efforts with a unified bid.

"We didn't want to start down the path unless we were in it to win."

Both Kurt L. Schmoke and Marion S. Barry Jr., mayors of Baltimore and Washington, respectively, concurred. Both also touted the potential economic benefits of winning the bid, as well as Olympics-driven chances to improve transportation and housing.

Early yesterday, the executives sent off the requisite papers concerning their Washington/Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition, the bidding entity's name, to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The name, which Junck admitted, with a chuckle, "doesn't exactly roll off the tongue," reflects a USOC prohibition on using the word 'Olympics.' It also reflects the touchiness of using one city's name over the other locally.

At an Annapolis hotel, the executives conducted an afternoon news conference on the bid.

At the conference, Schmoke said the group's name was "secondary" to the potential benefits of playing host to the Games, even if ultimately only one city's name -- presumably Washington's, since it is the nation's capital -- was selected.

"What's more important is that we have a firm coalition, great business leadership and strong public partnership," Schmoke said.

Pub Date: 7/01/98

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