- The Washington Times - Friday, April 26, 2002

Organizers for Washington's 2012 Summer Olympics bid yesterday started a $500,000 national marketing campaign for the final six months before U.S. Olympic Committee evaluations.
The campaign, called "Heart of Our Nation. Host to the World," marks the most extensive public advertising yet for the local bid. The Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition, the formal body for the bid, unveiled several of the new ads at yesterday's Potomac Conference of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, a regional planning forum involving high-level executives and politicians.
"We're getting into the homestretch and really need to convey our story to both the Olympic community and general community," said Dan Knise, coalition executive director. "We've essentially finished building our plan for now, we feel very strong about it and now one of our key jobs is to go out and sell our message."
Washington, bidding jointly with Baltimore for the 2012 Games, is one of four domestic finalists, joining New York, San Francisco and Houston. The USOC will pick a single U.S. candidate in early November, and that city then will compete in a global competition to end in 2005, when the International Olympic Committee names the 2012 host.
Placement for the ads will include Metro buses and trains, outdoor advertising, sports industry and amateur sports trade publications, event programs and several outlets within local media. Television is possible but likely only if stations donate time as a public service. In fact, much of the campaign will rely on donated time and space worth the projected $500,000, as opposed to paid placements.
The ads also are designed to boost fund raising as coalition officials remain $600,000 shy of the $9.5million in cash and in-kind services needed to fund the bid.
Although the campaign is geared to last into the fall, much of the exposure will occur fairly soon because USOC officials will make a second site visit June 28-29 to review bid elements in person. Following the visits to each of the four finalists, a cutdown of the field to two or three bidders may occur before November.
Several of the ads will use designs of the newly conceived Olympic Sports Complex as a key image. Two weeks ago, coalition officials amended their formal bid with the USOC to include plans for this complex on the grounds of RFK Stadium and the D.C. Armory. The complex is slated to hold an 80,000-seat main stadium, as well as venues for boxing, beach volleyball, all aquatic sports except water polo, team handball, archery and the primary media center.
Other prominent images in the campaign will include the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Mall and "MMXII DC" 2012 in Roman numerals and the District of Columbia abbreviation.
"Washington remains one of the few major world capitals that has not hosted an Olympics," Knise said. "It's a fact that I think is still unknown in a lot of areas. So that's one of the simple things we're trying to get out there."
To date, support for the local Olympics bid has been strong, and a 2000 survey found that 82 percent of local residents favor an Olympics held in the Washington-Baltimore area. But coalition officials and supporters have privately conceded the need to convey the urgency.
"The urgent time of this bid is right now," said Jair Lynch, a two-time Olympian in gymnastics and District native. "The USOC will support the city that wins [the domestic bidding] until it gets the Olympics. So it could be 20 years or longer before we can even start this process again."

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