Olympics team to scout Baltimore-D.C. area in June

Region will be first of competing cities on USOC itinerary

May 04, 2001|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

A team from the U.S. Olympic Committee will visit the Baltimore-Washington region June 10-13 to conduct a technical review of venues being proposed for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The region will be the team's first stop - just as local organizers had hoped - with visits to the seven competing cities to follow, ending with Los Angeles on Aug. 23-26.

Also competing to be the U.S. candidate to play host to the 2012 Summer Games are Dallas, Houston, Cincinnati, New York, San Francisco and Tampa-Orlando, Fla.

"We're excited," said Dan Knise, president and chief executive of the Washington-Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition. "We think that we've got a good story to tell in the Washington-Baltimore region."

Knise had hoped to be among the first visits, fearing that fatigue could set in among the team of evaluators toward the end of the long list of cities.

"We think going first we have the opportunity to set the standard for everybody else, and it's going to be a pretty high standard," he said yesterday.

The evaluation team will consist of eight USOC employees and volunteers who will visit all the cities.

"This is the first chance for the USOC to set foot in these cities and really begin to analyze their bids on their own soil," said Mike Moran, a spokesman for the USOC. "Undoubtedly, this is a process that will produce elimination of some of these cities between now and 2002."

In each city, topics will include: general and sports infrastructure, sports event experience, general housing and village plans, transportation strategies, government support and public opinion, general financial plan and guarantees, and international strategies, according to USOC officials.

The site-evaluation team also will tour key facilities and meet with each city's bid leadership personnel.

Although a news conference is planned for the last day of the visit, the local meetings and activities of the evaluation team will not be public. The team is not expected to comment on the results of its evaluations.

The USOC executive committee is scheduled to announce the bid city finalists during the first quarter of 2002, with the U.S. candidate city to be named in October 2002.

That winning U.S. city then enters the international competition. The International Olympic Committee will choose a site for the 2012 Olympics in 2005.

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