- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 29, 2002

With Washington and Baltimore's Olympic dream now over, officials for the Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition began the task of shutting down the bid organization yesterday.

Just as bidding for the 2012 Summer Olympics required more than four years of highly detailed and often frenetic work, closing down the operation is a similarly involved process. Over the next several months, numerous issues, such as vacating its Eye Street NW offices, returning any remaining donations and dismissing the four full-time employees and one part-timer, will be addressed. By late October the coalition will cease to exist.

"We're clearly in a wind-down mode now," said Dan Knise, coalition president and executive director. "Part of this process will be the simple logistics of breaking this down, business affairs, and part of it will be finding a proper legacy for the work and spirit that was created."

John Morton, coalition chairman, began the task of planning for the bid shutdown less then four hours after the U.S. Olympic Committee selected New York and San Francisco as finalists for the domestic endorsement for 2012 on Tuesday.

"There's a lot to do," Morton said. "It was a significant undertaking to move this forward. It will take a lot to break back down. We're shutting down a business of sorts. There are a lot of open questions, a lot of loose ends. What [financial] responsibilities, if any, do we still have to the USOC, for example?"

It is not expected much money will be left over after coalition officials finish settling out their fiscal matters; the Olympic bid required nearly $10million in cash donations and in-kind services, and another last-minute fund-raising push would have been needed to help bolster the effort had Washington and Baltimore advanced Tuesday.

But what is likely is a donation of the reams of geographic, demographic, historical and monetary data on the Washington-Baltimore region collected since 1998.

"That's something we'll explore, seeing if there's a library out there that would be a good fit for our vast collection of information," Knise said. "Another possible legacy item might be creating some type of regional sports commission. This bid clearly established a platform and an energy for top-level sports competition in the region. There's no reason for that to stop."

Knise, a former executive with insurance and risk management firm J&H Marsh & McLennan, also will need to plot out his own professional future.

"I really don't know what my next move will be," Knise said. "I'd like to stay involved in this general effort in some way, but I also have a business background, and there will be some opportunities there, too."

Meanwhile, boosters of the local Olympic bid yesterday continued to struggle with the USOC's reasoning that potential anti-Washington sentiment among the International Olympic Committee harmed the effort, particularly given that the federal government plays a minor role in any American-based Olympics outside of security matters.

Charles Moore, USOC site selection committee chairman, said Tuesday that anti-D.C. feelings, in part stirred by the tough congressional questioning in 1999 of former IOC chief Juan Antonio Samaranch, may be lingering among global Olympic circles.

"It is tragic that hometown Washington, one of the country's oldest and most distinctive cities, was apparently harmed in its Olympic bid by the reputation of official Washington," said Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia Democrat.

Knise concurred.

"We respect the process that was laid out, but we still can't help be bewildered that the international element would be been such an issue relating to our bid, at least to such magnitude and at the 11th hour," he said. "We simply had no idea it was a concern to that degree."

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