Sunday, July 22, 2000

A look at the competition for the U.S. bid




        United States cities, besides Cincinnati, vying to host the 2012 Summer Olympics:

        NEW YORK CITY: NYC2012.COM

        • With the costs of hosting the game adding up to about $1.8 billion, New York City would be left with a $1.3 billion surplus that city officials plan to stow away for future use.

        • Most of the venues for various games are already built, according to New York's 600-page proposal. Yankee Stadium would be used for baseball, the Meadowlands for soccer and basektball, Madison Square Garden for gymnastics, etc.

        • The NYC2012 committee says the city won't have to use tax money to finance construction for the games. It proposes to build an Olympic stadium on Manhattan's West Side or next to Shea Stadium for track events and opening and closing ceremonies. The committee hopes the New York Jets will pick up the $100 million to $300 million tab on any proposed stadium. Once the games were over the structure would be the team's new home field. If the Jets don't go for it there is an alternative plan to rebuild one of the area's existing stadiums or put up a temporary structure.

        • Critics say the biggest drawback is the area's population density, which could complicate transportation.

        WASHINGTON D.C. AND BALTIMORE: www.wbrc2012.org

        • The Washington-Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition wants to raise about $10 million by 2002. The group has already received a little more than $5 million.

        • Coalition officials say construction of new facilities will be kept to a minimum in the area. Like New York City, they want to use existing facilities for games. If necessary, they propose building temporary structures. Opening and closing ceremonies would be held either in the renovated RFK Olympic stadium or simultaneously on the Mall in Washington D.C. and the Inner Harbor of Baltimore.

        • Athletes and coaches will be housed in University of Maryland dormitories. Officials say the campus would make the most convenient Olympic Village because of its proximity to both Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

        • Critics say the joint bid spreads the games over too large an area. Olympic tradition has favored more compact areas with venues closer together.
        DALLAS: 2012dallas.org (by password only)

• The Cotton Bowl is the leading contender for this area's Olympic stadium, according to this area's proposal. Opening and closing ceremonies would be held here as would all track and field events.

        • Dallas is also well on its way to becoming an amateur sports haven, attracting more than a dozen sports-related conventions and competitions in 1999 alone. This group has also raised more than $2.5 million and is putting forth a well-organized effort, officials say.

        • Officials talk up the area's infrastructure and the committee's support from such companies as American Airlines, Bank of American, and Ross Perot Jr.'s real estate firm Hillwood Development.

        • One drawback, the heat which, officials say, can interfere with athlete performance.
        HOUSTON: Houston2012.org

• Houston officials envision the Astrodome as home to the Olympic track and field competitions. Plus the area would use other existing venues, such as a new baseball stadiium, football stadium and the Compaq Center, along with the Texas Southern University's arena.

        • Houston City Council put up $1.5 million toward the effort, and private contributors have matched this amount. Committee officials hope also to renovate the Astrodome which could run between $50 million and $100 million. The revamp would create enough space for a 400-meter track and add at least 75,000 seats.

        • Houston officials tentatively propose to house athletes at the downtown campuses of the University of Houston and Texas Southern University, blocks away from each other. Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority would also build a $300 million, 7.5 mile rail line linking downtown and the Astrodome.

        • Critics don't like the area's smog problem. But organizers say smog didn't stop Los Angeles in 1984.

        TAMPA: Florida2012.org

• This area's organizers comprise a state committee, Florida 2012. The group proposes demolishing three public housing complexes to create space for a stadium and an Olympic Village. It would also relocate a church and raze a school. Florida 2012 has raised $6.6 million in private donations.

        • Legislators have also approved a safety net which would exempt the state of any incurred debts as a result of the Olympics. Florida 2012, would have to pay the first $25 million in losses under provisions of the bill. State taxpayers would pick up losses that exceed $25 million, up to a maximum of $175 million, according to the bill.

        • Some of the group's plans already have citizens in St. Petersburg grumbling, because that city has been asked to pay for construction of a 14,000-seat diving facility.

        SAN FRANCISO: Basoc2012.com

• San Francisco would be the host city, several venues farther south--including the San Jose Arena and Stanford Stadium--likely would be called upon to host events.

        • Organizers say enough practice facilities exist in the Bay Area to offer at least two locations for each sport. Events would take place throughout the Bay Area, from boxing at the Cow Palace in San Francisco to water polo in Berkeley. The South Bay also could host a number of events.

        • Critics wonder, though, how enthusiastic Bay Area residents are about the possibility of an Olympics. Taxpayers already turned down a request for public funds to build a new stadium for the San Francisco Giants.

        LOS ANGELES: (No Web site)

        • Organizers have launched a $2 billion proposal to have the Olympics return for a third visit. The facilities are already in place and organizers say the group would have to spend at most $100 million for new or temporary facilities. They would have a surplus in excess of $1.8 billion.

        • If the bid is given to Los Angeles, the Coliseum will probably host opening and closing ceremonies, plus track and field events as in past Olympic games. Officials could agree to tear down the Sports Arena and replace it with a large parking structure. The arena was the Boxing venue for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

        • The University of Southern California also has plans that could help L.A., USC wants a 12,000 seat, $70 million facility for basketball and volleyball. The venue could be completed in 2002.



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- A look at the competition for the U.S. bid
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