- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2002

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams says his administration is "going to be moving heaven and Earth" to impress a team of Olympics officials later this month.
The U.S. Olympic Committee will send officials to the District bidding jointly with Baltimore on June 28 and 29 to make a final evaluation before trimming the field of domestic candidate cities for the 2012 Summer Olympics from four to two.
Whether the two-city team makes the cut won't be known until September after USOC officials sweep through Houston, New York and San Francisco, the other three cities in the running. The USOC's board of directors will then vote on the final U.S. candidate city at its Nov. 2 and 3 meeting in Colorado.
"We've put together a package and certainly we have background qualities and assets that ought to leave us on the good side of the selection when it's done," Mr. Williams told reporters at his weekly press briefing yesterday.
The mayor said he has known for some time that USOC officials would be narrowing the list of potential sites and that improvements recently were added to the local bid for the Games.
Dan Knise, president and executive director of the Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition, the group in charge of the local bid, said the upcoming visit by USOC officials "clearly puts a premium on our work."
One issue that should help the Games wind up in the District and Baltimore is the system of top-level security already in place in the region, Mr. Knise told The Washington Times yesterday.
"The word that we hear from various Olympic insiders is that they're looking for a place that knows how to handle the security needs of such a major event," he said. "The general consensus is that Washington is one of those places."
Mr. Knise said he expects the "symbolism of reuniting the world and America in our nation's capital" 11 years after the events of September 11 to play a role in landing the Games in the District and Baltimore.
"[It] won't be lost on the International Olympic Committee," he said. "It's a plus that here we are in a very symbolic place in a place to make history."
During a site visit to the District last summer, Charles Moore, chairman of the USOC's bid-evaluation task force, said the Washington-Baltimore team "raised the bar" for other U.S. bidders to match.
In April, the Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition's written plan for the Games was revised to shift some venues away from the suburbs and concentrate events in downtown Washington and Baltimore. In particular, a focal point of the revised bid is a proposed Olympic Sports Complex along the Anacostia River on the grounds of RFK Stadium and the D.C. Armory.
The area would house track and field, opening and closing ceremonies, all aquatic events except water polo, boxing, beach volleyball, team handball and archery, as well as the primary media center, sponsor exhibits and additional spectator entertainment.
Also in April, the coalition started a $500,000 marketing campaign designed to promote the bid nationally. The group's Web site, www.dc2012.org, additionally has been revamped.
And a Youth Sports Day, in which area children can attend sports clinics led by regional Olympians and Paralympians, is planned for June 15.
After this summer's site visits, a USOC bid-evaluation task force is expected to make its choices of the two remaining finalists around Labor Day and submit those cities to the organization's executive committee for approval. Last fall, the committee removed Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Dallas and Tampa, Fla., from consideration.
In November, when a single domestic 2012 candidate is finalized, that city will compete in a three-year global competition for the Games. The International Olympic Committee then will pick the 2012 host in 2005. Other likely bidders include Toronto, Moscow and Paris.
"It's a big deal and I'm taking it very, very seriously," Mr. Williams said yesterday.
"What a wonderful thing it would be for our neighborhoods, for our city and for this nation to have Washington D.C., and Baltimore as the premier site of the 2012 Olympics."


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