OLYMPIC 2012 - Bid Cities culled on Tuesday

by Jim Slater

NEW YORK, May 15 (AFP) - Leaders of New York’s bid for the 2012 Olympics are optimistic about being named a finalist for those Summer Games on Tuesday, but warn that the Big Apple'' might not make another offer if this effort fails. There is absolutely no thought of anything beyond 2012,’’ said bid leader Dan Doctoroff, New York’s deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding.
This is the right moment for New York City. I don't know if we will be able to generate the same support,the same momentum again. I believe this is New York's moment.'' The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will trimthe field of nine 2012 hosting hopefuls to a final setof candidates Tuesday, with the vote to decide the sitefor the 2012 Olympics set for July 6, 2005, atSingapore. I’m cautiously optimistic,’’ Doctoroff said. Idon't want to take anything for granted but we're veryhopeful we will survive the decision Tuesday. I think westack up quite well.'' Rival bid cities include Paris, London, Moscow,Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Havana, Istanbul and Leipzig,Germany. New York's bid comes as anti-American feelings arehigh in much of the world over the decision to invadeIraq and the torture of prisoners from there. ButDoctoroff is counting upon IOC members focusing moreupon bid details. We’re not talking about a global popularity contest.We’re talking about 125 members,’’ he said. Certainly for some politicsmay play a role. Based on what we have seen so far,that's a much less important factor than some of thethings that are more Olympic-specific. I don’t think at the end of the day it will have abig impact. Preparations for the Olympics will play moreof a role than global politics.’’
But IOC members do not operate without regard toglobal affairs. And many bid winners have been losers inprevious attempts, which could work against New York’snow is the moment'' pitch. Clearly there’s some anti-American sentiment,’‘Doctoroff said. I believe it is outweighed by pro-NewYork sentiment. In many ways, New York is the embodimentof the Olympic spirit. New York is an Olympic village every single day. Webelieve the Olympics can play a critical role in therebuilding and transformation of this city.’’
The notion of rebuilding'' is a subtle reminder ofthe September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that toppledthe World Trade Center's Twin Towers. Having anappearance of aiding in the recovery from that tragedycould entice the IOC. Legacy is very important to the Olympic movement,’‘Doctoroff said. In New York, there will be permanentOlympic icons. There will be buildings to remind peopleof the power of the Olympic movement.'' One of those planned buildings, a main Olympic Stadiumon Manhattan's West Side, has sparked controversy. Itwould be the centerpiece of a convention centerrenovation that might happen even if the Olympic bidfails. Vancouver's victory in bidding for the 2010 WinterOlympics might make IOC members reluctant to return theSummer Games to North America two years later, althoughDoctoroff discounts that notion. That issue has not come up one time,’’ he said. Idon't think that is going to be an issue at all.'' A boost to the US bid might come if several Europeancandidates reach the final group, potentially splittingEuropean support to aid New York. I don’t think it can hurt us,’’ Doctoroff said.