ShareThis Page
Sports

USOC fields pitches from potential Olympic hosts

| Saturday, June 24, 2006

SAN DIEGO -- San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom envisions a 2016 Summer Olympics with marathoners crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, cyclists pedaling through the Presidio and sailors navigating his city's scenic bay.

If sprawling Los Angeles is given a chance to host its third Olympics, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa thinks the games would be more compact and easier to get to than in 1984, and in several venues built since those successful games.

Mayor Richard M. Daley promises games presented "Chicago style."

Houston has big-hitting businessmen and some big venues on its side, and Philadelphia has history.

Those five cities made their pitches Friday to the U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors, which is deciding whether to bid on the 2016 Games.

Each city had 15 minutes to make its presentation and 15 minutes to answer questions from USOC officials.

Last month, USOC officials made a barnstorming tour of the five cities and met with leaders to lay the groundwork for a possible bid.

Delegation officials said the USOC asked them not to divulge specifics, and they probably wouldn't anyway, since they don't want to give away secrets.

In separate news conferences, the delegations touched on generalities of their presentations.

• Chicago, represented by Daley and businessmen Miles White and Pat Ryan, promised enthusiastic support from corporations, compact games in a city known for skyscrapers and Lake Michigan shoreline, mass transit and ethnic diversity.

"I described it as an American experience, Chicago style," Daley said. "That's very important. We want the Olympics to come back to America. This is an opportunity to showcase middle America."

• Houston Mayor Bill White was accompanied by Astros owner Drayton McLane and businessman George DeMontrond. They touted the city's leadership and financial resources, including several Fortune 500 companies.

"I think Houston will do very well in a process that's based on objective criteria," White said.

McLane said he's impressed with Houston's can-do attitude. "We said that we feel people will really rally behind this, and the business community will support it wholeheartedly."

• Los Angeles mayor Villaraigosa brought along Janet Evans, a swimmer who won four Olympic gold medals.

"Look, I'll tell you, in a synopsis of what we said today, L.A. is the place where the world comes together," Villaraigosa told reporters, describing his city's ethnic diversity.

"We have 38 Olympic-quality venues for 26 Olympic events. So I can tell you we have the capacity in this region," said Villaraigosa, who also touted his car-loving city's expanding mass transit.

Villaraigosa isn't concerned that the USOC may favor another city since L.A. is the only U.S. city to host two Summer Games.

"I'm not hearing that," he said. "I think we've got a very strong bid, frankly."

• San Francisco mayor Newsom painted a postcard-quality picture of athletes competing on and around his city's famous landmarks.

"Love or hate our city, those are pretty iconic backdrops for sport that certainly have international identity," he said.

"We didn't want to overpromise, at the same time, we don't want to underpromise what we think are the attributes of the San Francisco Bay Area," he added.

Newsom said his city could succeed because of its "unique international status, because of our identity and affinity toward social justice movements, and the fact that San Francisco oftentimes does stand alone in terms of international perception and prestige."

• Philadelphia was the only city not represented by its mayor.

Stephanie Naidoff, commerce director for the City of Brotherly Love, said she had "every confidence that Philadelphia can deliver on the Olympic dream that not only will make the U.S. Olympic Committee proud, but will make all of America proud."

Asked about venues, she said: "We believe we have most of what we need."

The USOC wants to identify a potential bid city before the International Olympic Committee sends out requests for bids next spring. The IOC will pick a city in 2009.

USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth, the architect of the 1984 Games, said before last month's tour that the USOC will be patient in the process.

"We're seeking a partner that has a very good chance to win," he said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me