- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 11, 2002

The Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition, the local bid group seeking the 2012 Summer Olympics, has moved the proposed location of more than a dozen sports and events and now is seeking to concentrate the Games largely within Washington and Baltimore.
In a 256-page addendum to their written bid filed this week with the U.S. Olympic Committee, coalition officials now seek to build a large Olympic Sports Complex on District-owned land now housing RFK Stadium and the D.C. Armory. At this facility, local organizers plan to place track and field, all aquatic sports except water polo, boxing, beach volleyball, team handball and archery, as well as the primary media center, sponsor exhibits and additional spectator entertainment.
The change in site strategy veers significantly from a long-planned "cluster" concept in which events and facilities would be fairly evenly scattered among the District, Baltimore, College Park, Annapolis and Northern Virginia.
"The OSC is really a key component of our bid," said Dan Knise, coalition executive director. "We got some feedback from the USOC, studied some of the other Olympic host cities some more, looked harder at our own plans, and decided we really need to get more of the venues closer to the Olympic Village [planned for the University of Maryland in College Park] and closer to rail lines. This definitely gets us more centralized."
San Francisco, another candidate for the 2012 Games, also has centralized its venue plans at the suggestion of USOC executives, moving several events from Sacramento to the immediate Bay Area.
With the site changes, coalition officials say 85 percent of the venues in a locally held Olympics would be within one mile of a Metro station.
In another major change from previous local plans, the coalition has abandoned efforts for a joint opening ceremonies on the Mall and at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The provocative plan sought to buck an Olympic tradition of holding such ceremonies within enclosed stadia dating to the ancient Greeks. But security and logistics concerns have scuttled the proposal. Instead, coalition officials seek to hold the ceremonies within a new 80,000-seat stadium designed to replace RFK and have smaller, simultaneous events such as simulcasting the ceremonies for the public at the other two sites.
The bid addendum, required by the USOC, represents the last written change to the local Olympic proposal before the national body selects a single domestic candidate for 2012 on Nov.2. This summer USOC officials will visit Washington and Baltimore, New York, San Francisco and Houston, the four U.S. finalists for 2012, to review the changed plans.
Following the USOC selection, the International Olympic Committee will select the 2012 host in 2005. The U.S. candidate is expected to compete globally against Toronto, Moscow, London, Paris and several other international hubs.
If the 2012 Olympics come here, much of the Olympic Sports Complex will be built with temporary facilities and stands a developing trend within sports event management designed to lessen costs and prevent cities from being saddled with white elephant buildings.
"When the USOC made its first site visit here [in June 2001], we quickly developed a sense that our space here would perhaps be underutilized," said Bobby Goldwater, executive director of the D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission, which manages the 90-acre RFK/Armory site. "There is space here we have been working very hard to make better use of. The Olympics, obviously, takes that aim to a much, much higher level."
The local Olympic coalition also has amended its budget proposals, elevating projected revenue from $2.7billion to $2.9billion and lowering its planned operating surplus from $279million to $92million. The downgrade in anticipated profit reflects an increase in spending on the Paralympics, held in tandem with the Olympics, and community outreach efforts, as well as an increased awareness of Olympic economics.
The 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles is the only Games, summer or winter, to record a profit. The 1996 Olympics in Atlanta broke even, and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City is projected to show a profit of at least $40million, with final figures expected later this spring.

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