Sunday, March 28, 1999

First bid to lure Olympics one year away


Effort to bring 2012 Games here seems less far-fetched

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The people hoping to bring the 2012 Summer Olympics to Cincinnati have a year to submit their first bid.

        The eight U.S. cities that want to stage the Olympics must turn in their bids by March 31, 2000.

THE COMPETITION
  Here are the eight U.S. cities bidding for the 2012 Olympics:
  • Baltimore/Washington D.C.
  • Cincinnati
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Tampa/St. Petersburg
        Nick Vehr, president of Cincinnati 2012, thinks the bid his group submits a year from now will make it the front-runner in the eyes of the United States Olympic Committee. The USOC plans on naming in the fall of 2002 one city to bid internationally for the 2012 Games.

        “I'm confident a year from now, Cincinnati's bid will not only be the most detailed and most complete, it will also be the most practical and most creative for the next time the Olympics come to the United States,” Mr. Vehr said.

        Today's Enquirer looks at the early plans Cincinnati 2012 has for staging the Olympics here and some of the problems it must overcome in the next year. Those include:

TIMELINE
  The timeline for selecting the host city for the 2012 Olympics:
  March 31, 2000: All detailed bids are due to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
  May 2000-Feb. 2001: USOC's Olympic Site Evaluation Task Force visits each of the bid cities.
  March 31, 2001: Bids are revised based on feedback from the USOC.
  March 2002: USOC may decide to narrow the field by selecting three to four finalist cities.
  Fall 2002: USOC selects a city to bid for the 2012 Olympics.
  Spring 2004: International Olympic Committee (IOC) closes its process for bid cities.
  Fall 2005: IOC selects the host city for the 2012 Olympics.
        • Venues: The Tristate region has enough mid-sized and small arenas to satisfy the different Olympic sports, but the lack of a large arena in Cincinnati could hurt. Right now, there is no indoor arena large enough to stage two of the most popular sports, gymnastics and basketball. Also, Cincinnati shares the same problem the other seven bid cities have: What to do with track and field?

        • Traffic: One expert says it's simple. If Cincinnati does not have a light-rail mass transit system in place by 2012, the Olympics will not come here.

        • Hotels: Cincinnati trails the other bid cities in the number of hotel spaces needed to accommodate up to 3 million visitors for a two-week period.

        • Politics: Cincinnati's Issue 3 could derail its Olympic hopes. Cobb County, Ga., lost its Olympic sport — volleyball — at the 1996 Atlanta Games because of its anti-gay position. What hope does that offer to Cincinnati?

        • Convention center: One of the main reasons Atlanta beat out Toronto for the 1996 Games was its expanded convention space. Mr. Vehr and his group are watching the current discussions about expanding the Albert B. Sabin Cincinnati Convention Center because the expansion is critical to winning the bid.



Olympics Stories
- First bid to lure Olympics one year away
Regional plan boosts supply of venues
Cincinnati 2012 venues plan
Biggest challenge: Big sports need big locations
Convention center expansion might help
Gay rights issue could be an obstacle
Mass transit is a missing piece
Riverboats would increase hotel space