NEW YORK - The inspection visit will last 4 1/2 days and cost $3 million, and by the time the International Olympic Committee's Evaluation Commission leaves New York on Thursday, it will know the Big Apple to the core.
Its 13 members will have watched 17 video presentations, traveled 200 miles through the city's boroughs on seven different modes of transportation, visited 30 prospective venues and traveled by horse-drawn carriage from their Manhattan hotel to dinner at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's home - the one social event where they can be wined and dined under IOC rules.
New York's challenge is to convince the Evaluation Commission it is better suited to host the 2012 Summer Olympics than Paris, London, Moscow and Madrid.
"New York City will be pulling out all the stops," said Dan Doctoroff, deputy mayor and point man for the Olympic bid.
New York's bid began when Doctoroff attended a World Cup soccer match, thought about the Olympics and asked, "Why not New York?" His organizing committee, NYC2012, beat out seven other American cities before it was selected as the U.S. bid city, then survived a cut that reduced nine international hopefuls to the five finalists.
"It has been over 10 years since our city's Olympic dream began on that fateful day, and it is amazing how far we've come," Doctoroff said.
This will be the only official visit of the IOC's representatives, strictly limited under new rules because of the 1999 Salt Lake City bidding scandal. The IOC's Evaluation Commission, led by Nawal el Moutawakel, an Olympic gold medal hurdler from Morocco and the first woman to chair an Evaluation Commission, has been in London after beginning its five-city inspection tour in Madrid. After it departs New York, the commission will visit Paris, considered the front-runner, and finally Moscow, the long shot.
The Evaluation Commission's final report - not a recommendation - will be submitted to the IOC, which will select the 2012 host city July 6 in Singapore.
"The Evaluation Commission really becomes the eyes and ears for the rest of the membership, particularly on technical issues," Doctoroff said.
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