Gymnastics palace pledged for 2012

O'Malley promises a new arena, if the Olympics come

March 15, 2000|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

Mayor Martin O'Malley pledged yesterday that the city will "step up to the plate" and build a new arena if the region wins the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

The new arena would be the site for the gymnastics competition, according to a list of proposed venues released yesterday by the Washington-Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition, the organization working to bring the Olympics to the region.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards would be the site of the Olympic baseball tournament, and PSINet Stadium would play host to a number of soccer games, including the men's and women's gold medal matches.

Washington would play host to track and field at a renovated RFK Stadium, basketball at the MCI Center and boxing at the DC Armory.

The coalition made two proposals for the opening and closing ceremonies. The first, a "traditional" version, would have the ceremonies at RFK Stadium. The second would see the ceremonies take place simultaneously at the National Mall in Washington and the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.

"Imagine, if you will, Baltimore electrified for 17 days in 2012 and think what it would be like to be part of that," said Dan Knise, chairman and CEO of the Washington-Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition. "Wouldn't it be great to engage more people in the opening and closing ceremonies? How about 350,000 people?"

Knise and other officials revealed site plans for the 28 Olympic sports at news conferences yesterday in Washington and Baltimore.

As outlined, the University of Maryland, College Park would be home for the Olympic Village, housing the 10,000 athletes and their coaches. The university has 8,500 beds, soon to approach 9,000, Knise said. Additional beds could be supplied, he said.

Most of the athletic competition would take place within five concentrated areas of the region: downtown Washington, downtown Baltimore, Annapolis, Prince George's County and Northern Virginia. The Prince George's County and Virginia venues would be centered primarily at the University of Maryland, College Park and George Mason University.

Yachting, beach volleyball and the modern pentathlon would be held in Annapolis, with the U.S. Naval Academy and the Chesapeake Bay as the primary venues.

Prince George's County would play host to many events at the University of Maryland, College Park, including team handball at Cole Field House and indoor volleyball at the soon-to-be started Comcast Center. FedEx Field in Landover also would play host to soccer matches, including two semifinals.

Wrestling, judo and taekwondo would be at George Mason University. The equestrian events would take place at Great Meadow in Fauquier County. Swimming and diving would also be held in Northern Virginia at a site to be named.

Howard University would play host to the media village for the Olympic Games. The press center would be located at the new Washington Convention Center, with an additional center located at the Baltimore Convention Center.

"There's nothing we've talked about that isn't on someone's radar," said J. Charles Levergood, project director with Parsons Brinckerhoff Construction Services Inc., consultants working on the bid. "We don't want to have a white elephant that doesn't have a future use. We could really do this without having to build almost anything."

Both Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and O'Malley pledged financial contributions yesterday from the state and city respectively should the Washington-Baltimore Olympic bid be successful. "We are eager to make sure that we win," said Kennedy Townsend.

Last month, O'Malley said Baltimore faced "bigger life-and-death issues" than building a new downtown arena to lure a National Basketball Association team.

Yesterday, speaking beneath a blue banner that read "Potential site for the Olympic Games," the mayor said: "We would be willing to build a new arena if the city lands these games -- regardless of whether it lands the NBA."

The coalition must submit its proposal to the United States Olympic Committee by Dec. 15. The USOC then will choose one U.S. candidate city in 2002 to submit to the International Olympic Committee. The IOC will make its final selection of a host city for the 2012 Games in 2005.

Other U.S. cities expected to submit bids are: Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Tampa-Orlando, Fla.

Events, places

Baltimore

Baseball

Soccer

Gymnastics

Cycling (road and track)

Field hockey

Table tennis

Triathlon

Washington

Opening/closing ceremonies

Track and field

Basketball

Boxing

Weightlifting

Archery

Badminton

Tennis

College Park/P.G. County

Olympic Village Soccer

Modern pentathlon

Softball

Shooting

Team handball

Volleyball

Annapolis

Fencing

Modern pentathlon

Beach volleyball

Yachting, sailing

Virginia, George Mason Univ.

Swimming

Diving

Canoe

Equestrian

Judo

Rowing

Taekwondo

Wrestling

Western Maryland

Canoe -- slalom

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