Olympic planners add sports center to RFK proposal

90-acre site would get a new complex along with replacement stadium

6 sports to be accommodated

April 11, 2002|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

An Olympic sports complex is being added to plans to replace RFK Stadium, according to local organizers pursuing the 2012 Summer Olympic Games for the Washington-Baltimore region.

Dan Knise, president and chief executive officer of the Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition, said yesterday that an addendum submitted to United States Olympic Committee offers specific details on how the RFK Stadium site would be used for the games.

Previously, the organizers' proposal talked about building a new stadium and suggested the flexibility of doing more on the 90-acre site.

"Now we decided to bring that to life," Knise said about the broader plan. The expanded RFK Stadium site would provide venues for six Olympic sports: boxing, archery, aquatics, track and field, beach volleyball and team handball.

Plans haven't changed for downtown Baltimore, which would provide venues for soccer, baseball, gymnastics, table tennis, cycling and the triathlon, he said. Sites would include the Orioles and Ravens stadiums.

"What we've done is created two parks," Knise said of the grouping of venues in downtown Baltimore and at the RFK Stadium site in Washington. "Having two ... is going to be a huge plus and viewed very positively by the Olympic movement."

With a cluster of events at the RFK Stadium site, 85 percent of all event venues would be within a mile of a rail transit station. The moves also would reduce travel times by 45 percent for athletes who would stay at the proposed Olympic Village at the University of Maryland, College Park, according to the organizers.

Knise said he could not release details of individual venues, including projected cost, because of the competitive nature of the bidding process. All bid documents are confidential, he said.

The region is among four finalists competing to be the U.S. entry for the 2012 Summer Games.

The local organizers submitted the plans for the region's proposed Olympic venues as part of an addendum to their original proposals requested by the United States Olympic Committee.

The other three finalists, Houston, New York and San Francisco, were also asked to submit a bid addendum. The deadline was Monday.

The local organizers submitted a 256-page document that discussed the region's venues, transit systems, and proposed international strategy if the Washington-Baltimore region is selected as the U.S. candidate.

The organizers also provided more details on how they would organize the Paralympic Games.

Bobby Goldwater, president and executive of the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, which operates and manages RFK Stadium and the DC Armory, said that the plans outlined in the addendum will likely be further refined before the USOC makes its final selection in the fall.

"What the USOC is looking for is the strongest possible bid to put forward as the candidate ... to host the 2012 games," said Goldwater. "This regional approach - Washington as a centerpiece, Baltimore as a centerpiece - is a wonderful opportunity for this region to shine."

The International Olympic Committee is to select the host for the 2012 games in 2005.

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