- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2001

Washington has proven to be a top candidate for the 2012 Summer Olympics; that much was said by Charles Moore, the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) site evaluation chairman. Washingtons battle with seven American cities for the USOCs recommendation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) started this week with the USOCs visit to the region. But with the 2012 games still off in the sunrise, a more pressing date is July 13, even regarding Washington.
The pivotal issue is the IOCs final July 13 decision on the site for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Toronto, Beijing and Paris lead the options, and the selection could have stiff consequences on the 2012 American entry. If Beijing is chosen, the likelihood of an American city being selected for the 2012 Olympics increases, but if Toronto gets the nod, Washington can all but watch its hopes of having the Summer Olympics in North America twice in a row evaporate. A Paris selection would be ideal for Washingtons dreams.
In the meantime, 62 members of the House of Representatives have signed onto Resolution 73 in opposition to Beijings bid, based on human rights concerns. China reacted as one might have expected. Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, received a letter from Chinese Ambassador Yang Jiechi, which said, in part, "Any attempt to deny Chinas right to host the Games is a challenge to the universal principle of human rights …"
So there is Washingtons dilemma. Push for Beijing, a place not exactly known as a bedrock of peace and democracy. Or root for Toronto, a world center that shares a continent with Washington, or Paris. And then hope for the best later.
Washington is in the running with Dallas, Houston, Cincinnati, New York, Tampa and San Francisco. The USOC will hand down its decision in 2002, and the IOC will pick its host in 2005. Mr. Moore said Washington "raised the bar" as regards how other bid cities will be judged. Washingtons "broad array of resources and impressive leadership" set against the backdrop of a solid infrastructure and strong historical and international presence will surely set the nations capital apart. A solid transportation system, existing public and private venues and financial stability have already placed it as the city to beat. Mayor Anthony Williams said the citys standing on the world stage is a plus for the bid.
The region would surely benefit from beefing up its transportation and athletic infrastructure. A report prepared for the CRC said the Olympic Games could bring a $5 billion positive economic impact and nearly 70,000 new jobs to the area. The estimated $2.5 billion it would cost to stage the Olympics would be returned as revenue, mostly from television contracts.
But the Olympics are more than jobs and revenue and TV deals. The Olympic Games showcase peace on a world stage, and what better stage than Washington, capital of the free world. There will be plenty of time to discuss 2012. The important decision now is 2008. Attention should be focused on blocking the Olympic Games from being awarded to Beijing. Then we can worry about bringing them to Washington.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide