Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Washington’s pursuit of the Summer Olympics, cut short three years ago by the U.S. Olympic Committee, could become alive once again if the panel reopens domestic bidding for the 2016 Games as expected.

Dan Knise, executive director of Washington’s failed bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, said yesterday he is interested in restarting the local bid. His comments came hours after the International Olympic Committee selected London as the 2012 host, toppling favored Paris and leaving American bidder New York a distant fourth in the five-city race.

New York officials have not committed to bidding again. USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth said yesterday he intends to conduct a search to find a domestic candidate for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

“To the level of our being interested, I think we’re definitely there,” Knise said. “Over the next few weeks, I expect calls will be going out to the USOC and local government leaders to gauge everyone and get a sense on where we go next. All the other [international bidders] this time were national capitals. So when you consider that, as well as how both our region and our presence as a sports town has only strengthened over the last three years, I think we could be a strong candidate.”

Washington, bidding jointly with Baltimore for the 2012 Summer Olympics, scored high in early evaluations with the USOC, with the local proposal centering on a multi-sport complex on the grounds of RFK Stadium. But the Washington bid lost in a semifinal round to New York and San Francisco. New York’s subsequent selection as the U.S. bidder for 2012 arrived with many questions about the true viability of its proposal, concerns that were later validated when organizers there could not deliver on promises for a new Olympic stadium on Manhattan’s west side.

“This is something we would definitely look at,” said Vince Morris, spokesman for District Mayor Anthony A. Williams. “It would be a lot of work to pull that all back together, but we’ll certainly see where this goes.”

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