Bid to host Olympics is facing first deadline Approval needed: Backing from city councils is imperative to fulfill region's hopes for 2012 games.

November 22, 1998

THE AUDACIOUS effort by Baltimore and Washington to seek the 2012 Olympics faces a critical deadline. Unless it wins the backing of both jurisdictions' city councils by the end of the year, the bid will not be considered by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

With Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke championing the joint application, the Baltimore City Council appears set to approve a support resolution tomorrow. A similar resolution has been endorsed by outgoing Mayor Marion S. Barry. The District of Columbia City Council is scheduled to consider it Dec. 1, before the newly elected members are sworn in.

Once those resolutions are secured, the Washington-Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition can file its proposal to host the Summer Games. It will then compete against, at the very least, Houston, Tampa, Cincinnati and Dallas. Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York may also enter the competition to be the United States' candidate to host the 2012 Games. (Seattle dropped out after failing to its get City Council's backing.)

The U.S. candidate would then face several foreign applicants. The International Olympic Committee will name its choice in 2005.

Several U.S. cities have been the host for recent Olympics -- and Salt Lake City will be the site of the 2002 Winter Games. The IOC may decide to give another country a chance in 2012. But competing for the honor requires such focused planning that it has been seen as a worthwhile effort by such past candidates as Stockholm, Sweden, and Cape Town, South Africa, where diverse elements of the community came together and rallied behind the quest for the Games.

The Olympics compels the Baltimore-Washington region to plot common challenges. Or as Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan remarked recently, "The 2012 Olympics is a great way to get together."

That Baltimore and Washington last year were able to drop their rival applications and submit a joint bid represented a dramatic step toward cooperation among the public and private sectors in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. For the first time, the area is acting as one on a major initiative. This is no mean achievement, considering how many past attempts at cooperation, such as a common market, have fizzled.

In preparing the Olympics bid, the Baltimore-Washington coalition is drafting an agenda for a region that is increasingly interlocked. This can only be a winning proposition.

Pub Date: 11/22/98

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