- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 28, 2002

CHICAGO The Washington-Baltimore joint bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics ended yesterday when the U.S. Olympic Committee made a surprise pick of New York and San Francisco to compete for the official domestic endorsement.
The decision, made during a daylong meeting of committee officials here, abruptly closes a massive four-year local effort involving nearly $10 million, thousands of man-hours and an unusual level of civic cooperation between frequent rivals Washington and Baltimore.
Going into yesterday's USOC announcement, the local bid had been widely viewed as a favorite to move on to the next round.
"I can certainly say I'm surprised, bordering on shocked, really" said Dan Knise, executive director of the Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition, the formal bid group of the local Olympic effort. "But we knew all along one city will be standing at the end of all of this. The USOC ran a fair and thorough process. I just thought we'd be able to fight another day."
Houston, the fourth domestic bidder for 2012, also was eliminated.
"I'm very disappointed. And I don't believe for a minute that our bid was second to anyone," said John Morton, Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition chairman. "But sometimes you have to measure victory in ways other than the final score. We've seen great things happen in our community spurred on by this bid. We now need to find ways for that to continue."
The USOC now will select between New York and San Francisco during board meetings Nov. 2-3 in Colorado. The winner will compete for International Olympic Committee approval in a loaded global field likely to include such cities as London, Paris, Rome, Moscow and Toronto. The IOC is likely to make its decision during the spring or summer of 2005.
Because the USOC will back its domestic choice until it hosts the Games, the local chances of landing the Olympics are effectively over for at least a generation.
"Washington and Houston did not fall down," said Charles Moore, chairman of the USOC site-selection team. "This was a question of riches and which cities had the best chance of winning in the international competition."
The decision of the 13-member site-selection panel was made on both objective numerical criteria and subjective views. On the scoring side, 54 percent was devoted to nuts-and-bolts IOC criteria such as venue plans, accommodations and security. An additional 15 percent was devoted to financial stability, and the final 31 percent was for each bid's chances of winning the international competition and planning for a companion Paralympic Games.
Mr. Moore declined to reveal the final scores for any city but said repeatedly the vote was "very close."
"This was a very close, very difficult and very painful decision," Mr. Moore said. "The vote was not unanimous and not sufficient by itself to make the choice. But the entire board supports the decision. Washington did all the right things. It would have hosted an excellent Olympic Games."
Despite Mr. Moore's praise, he made several comments suggesting that the local bid failed foremost in the international category. In particular, Mr. Moore brought up the congressional grilling that former IOC chief Juan Antonio Samaranch received after the Salt Lake City bribery scandal and acknowledged that Mr. Samaranch's harsh treatment might have upset the IOC.
"As we've said all along, a key determinant, the overriding factor, X factor if you will, was a city's ability to go and win in the international arena," Mr. Moore said. "We tried not to get hung up on [the Samaranch hearing]. We had to look at what Washington could do and how it could reach out."
Mr. Knise and Mr. Morton said that scrutiny was heavy on the local bid pertaining to its appeal with the IOC but felt that its plans, as well as a recently formed international advisory board, had sufficiently addressed those concerns.
Meanwhile, large parties held by D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and intended as celebrations quickly turned sour after the 5 p.m. announcement.
"I felt that we put together a tremendous package that hit every mark," Mr. Williams said, fighting back tears at a party he hosted with roughly 200 supporters. "While I'm extremely disappointed I couldn't be more disappointed I am very, very proud of this city. I'm very, very proud of the people in this community, and I'm very, very proud of this region."
Mr. O'Malley said, "The business relationships that were forged, the relationships between athletes and citizens in our two cities, are things that are going to go on for a long, long time, and I think that when people look back years from now they'll say that those relationships started in the course of this bid."
New York's bid widely seen as the worst in the four-city field because of concerns over heavy construction needs for venues and its overall budget clearly scored with the site selection team. In particular, Mr. Moore credited the New York bid for its plans dealing with general infrastructure, its vast ability to transport and house massive amounts of people and its security plans. Mr. Moore said, as expected, that the terrorist attacks of September 11 played no formal role in the decision to select New York.
"I really felt confident all along that we were going to move on," said Dan Doctoroff, president of NYC 2012, New York's bid group. "At the end of the day, we think the Olympics are foremost about bringing people together, and no one does that better than New York. Having said all that, we are going to have to work very, very hard to beat a very worthy adversary in San Francisco."
Guy Taylor contributed to this report.

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