The revised Washington-Baltimore bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games won praise yesterday from the head of a United States Olympic Committee evaluation team, at the close of a whirlwind visit to help decide whether the bid will be one of two finalists.
"Washington enhanced its position from where it was," said Charles H. Moore, chairman of the 2012 Bid Evaluation Task Force, which made stops in Washington and College Park. "If we were scoring today, we would score it higher than we would have before. We were more impressed with Washington today than we were before. There are no shortfalls in this bid."
At the same time, he cautioned that the competition is tough and that each of the four competing cities has submitted an outstanding bid.
Only one other city, San Francisco, made significant changes to its bid in the latest addendum submitted in April.
Now the team moves on to other cities competing for the Games: New York, Houston and San Francisco.
The 36-hour visit to the Washington region ended at a news conference on a rooftop observation deck with a backdrop that included the Washington Monument, the Capitol and the Library of Congress.
"How about this view?" asked Moore, who lives in Washington. "Is this not the greatest view in the world? ... You have a plethora of riches that is going to be attractive on an international basis."
Both Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who spoke at the news conference, shared their optimism that the region will be chosen to play host to the Games.
"Yes, we really have a shot at this," O'Malley said he tells people who ask about the Games.
The evaluation team saw a new and improved plan for the Games that calls for a multipurpose Olympic park on 80 acres near the Anacostia waterfront, at the site of Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, which would be razed.
That area would provide venues for boxing, archery, aquatics, track and field, beach volleyball and team handball, thereby positioning 85 percent of the venues within a mile of a rail transit station and reducing travel time for athletes staying at the Olympic Village, according to local organizers.
Team members also saw plans to add temporary and permanent housing at the proposed Olympic Village at the University of Maryland, College Park, where athletes for 23 of the 28 sports would be able to train.
"I feel incredibly good," said John Morton III, chairman of the Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition and the president of mid-Atlantic Banking for Bank of America. "It came through loud and clear that the University of Maryland expansion was even more than what we had described. ... These changes we made were very significant, and they really improved our chances to win at a higher level."
As they leave the region, team members will rate the bid, as they did before the visit, based on a set of standards that includes categories such as sports infrastructure, partnership ability and international strategies. The scores, which will be kept secret, will help choose two finalists to be announced in September.
A U.S. Candidate City will be named in November.
That city will enter the international competition, which may include bids from London, Paris, Rome, Istanbul, Toronto and from cities in South America and South Africa.
The International Olympic Committee will choose a site for the 2012 Games in 2005.