Thursday, December 14, 2000

Four annual festivals would precede Games

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Winning the world in 2012 would mean more than just 17 days of sporting events. Four annual cultural festivals leading up to the Games would bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to town before the torch is ever lighted.

        Then, a week of Para-Olympic Games after the Olympiad would bring in more tourism and competition. The Para-Olympic games are for disabled athletes.

        It's all part of the Olympic program outlined in Cincinnati 2012, Inc.'s bid for the Games, which leaves for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs today.

        The USOC will consider eight bids from American cities during the next two years, then pick one to compete against a handful of international cities for the 2012 Games.

        Mike Moran, spokesman for the USOC, said the Olympics have always been about more than just sport.

        “This is not a Super Bowl or a World Series,” Mr. Moran said. “It is an international festival of sport.”

        Four distinctly themed festivals will celebrate that “festival of sport” leading up to the Games.

        Here's what Cincinnati proposes:

        • Storytelling (2009-2010): The oldest form of theater and verbal artistry will be celebrated when an international cast of storytellers spin tales of the world's hometowns.

        The event calls for a variety of artistic programs related to hometowns and storytelling to tour the region.

        • The Appalachian Culture (2010-2011): This music, art, storytelling and food is unique to the Cincinnati Olympic region.

        • The Freedom Series (2011-2012): Freedom will be the central theme of the Olympiad. With the opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in 2004, honoring the secret network that helped slaves get to freedom, Cincinnati's “preeminence among the world's stories of freedom will be established.”

        • Earth as Home (2012-2013): Hometowns around the world face many of the same problems, including decay and declining greenspace. The closing chapter of the Games will focus on the role of the Olympic Games in ensuring sustainability in America's urban centers.

        Nick Vehr, president of Cincinnati 2012, Inc., said planning events surrounding the Games can be just as exciting as the athletic competition.

        “The Olympics hit people at all different emotional levels,” Mr. Vehr said.

Map of proposed venues
City submits Olympic bid
Where Olympic events would be held
- Four annual festivals would precede Games

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