Olympics panel set to submit final bid data

36 people worked 3 months to finish offer for 2012 Games

April 05, 2002|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

Local organizers working to bring the Summer Olympic Games to Washington-Baltimore in 2012 will submit the final piece of their bid proposal - a project that has consumed a team of three dozen people for three months.

The United States Olympic Committee asked the four finalists for the 2012 Games to submit a bid addendum by Monday. In addition to Washington-Baltimore, Houston, New York and San Francisco are vying for the Games.

"It's gotten very competitive," said Dan Knise, president and chief executive of the Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition. "We're all still friends, but the stakes have gone up. You can really feel the pressure of the deadline and the winner-take-all aspect of this."

The final documents - more than 100 pages - supplement 600 pages already submitted in December 2000 and cover four new topics: international strategy, the Paralympic Games, USOC partnership and the bid's organizational structure.

The USOC will name a U.S. candidate city in November. That city will then enter the international competition and the International Olympic Committee will choose the winning bid in 2005.

USOC officials made it clear in October when they named the four finalists that demonstrating a superior ability to dominate the international competition would be essential to winning.

The biggest challenge facing local organizers is to effectively highlight the best features of the Washington-Baltimore plan for the Games, Knise said.

"How do you make sure that the people who make the decision understand the strength of our bid?" said Knise. "The Washington-Baltimore region could be the one great place to connect the world, allowing the athletes to make history here in a pretty phenomenal setting."

The Washington-Baltimore bid for the 2012 Games calls for events to be concentrated in a corridor running from Morgan State University in Baltimore on the north to George Mason University in Northern Virginia on the south.

Potential sites outside that corridor include: Annapolis, Frederick and Garrett counties in Maryland, Great Meadow in Fauquier County, Va., and Beaverdam Reservoir-Brambleton Regional Park in Ashburn, Va.

Until November, local organizers must continue to show a commitment to amateur sports. Coming events in the region will include a Youth Sports Day on June 15.

Organizers also must bring in the final contributions needed. The effort has raised $8.8 million of $9.5 million.

"Since Salt Lake and since the public service announcements have started running, we've seen a real increase in our visibility and the buzz around town about our effort," Knise said. "The momentum is building. We have to keep it high, because the USOC is coming in June."

A site evaluation team is scheduled to visit the region June 28 and 29. The USOC has left open the possibility that it may further cut the number of finalists after visits to the cities.

Aside from the bid proposal, the finalist cities must submit a sales summary of up to 100 pages by Oct. 1, along with a 10-minute video. Following presentations by each city in Colorado Springs Nov. 2 and 3, the USOC will name a winner.

"If we don't win this now, it's likely to be at least another 30 years before we would have a chance at hosting the Games," Knise said. "It's a bit of a call to action for our community. If you want this to happen, you've got to help."

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