Baltimore to remain in running for 2012 U.S. committee votes not to pursue 2008 bid; Olympics

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The United States will almost certainly not nominate a candidate for the 2008 Summer Olympics, but organizers of Baltimore's bid say they will remain in the running for 2012.

The executive committee of the U.S. Olympic Committee voted unanimously yesterday not to pursue a bid for 2008, deferring to what officials said was the near certainty that another country would win.

In addition to Baltimore, seven cities had applied to be host of the Games: Washington, Cincinnati, Seattle, Houston, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.

"Everybody was very impressed with the interest and enthusiasm of the cities. But I think there was a strong sense of fairness and responsibility. It was going to cost a lot of money for these cities and time and effort, and the chances of getting the Games were slim," said USOC executive director Richard D. Schultz.

The USOC had estimated that a city bidding for 2008 would have to spend $3.5 million to get the American nomination, and up to $30 million to try and win the International Olympic Committee's vote. Baltimore's organizers were confident the money could be raised privately.

The USOC decided that international Olympic officials were unlikely to award the Games to another American city so soon after the 1996 Atlanta Games and 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Also, there is a sense in the Olympic community that Asia, Africa or Latin America is due a shot at the Games.

Yesterday's recommendation, by a committee of 20, now will go out in the form of a mail ballot to the full, 107-member USOC board of directors. The results will be announced June 16. The board traditionally follows the recommendation of its executive committee on such matters, especially when the recommendation is unanimous.

"I think we would anticipate that the board would follow the recommendation," Schultz said.

Maryland Stadium Authority chairman John Moag, spearheading Baltimore's bid, said the city would remain in the running for the 2012 Olympics.

"What it means is that the USOC believes that by waiting we have dramatically improved our chances for 2012. If it makes our chances better, then it's better to wait," Moag said.

The USOC said it would give the applicant cities the choice of getting their $100,000 application fees refunded or let the money ride for the 2012 effort. The documents each city submitted specified they were for the 2008, 2012 or 2016 Games.

The full board of directors of the USOC will meet in November to consider a bid for 2012, and may choose to enter the race at that time. The 2012 Olympics will probably be awarded by the IOC in 2005. The USOC, which must select the American entry, would make its pick no later than 2003.

All of the 2008 bidders have expressed interest in the later Games, Schultz said. Los Angeles and Chicago also have shown interest.

The executive committee also decided yesterday to pursue the 2007 Pan American Games. The applicants for that event are Houston; Raleigh, N.C.; Dade County, Fla.; and San Antonio. No more applications will be accepted, Schultz said.

Pub Date: 5/16/97

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