USOC expects to nominate a city for 2016

November 9th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: USOC expects to nominate a city for 2016


Associated Press

COSTA MESA, Calif. - Though they spent the day discussing in blunt detail the pitfalls in the arduous bid process, U.S. Olympic Committee officials sounded sure as ever Wednesday that they'll nominate a city to host the 2016 Summer Games.
At times, the opening of the two-day USOC seminar headlined by chairman Peter Ueberroth sounded more like a primer on why not to bid for the Olympics than why to get excited about it.
Still, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco are in the game. They were given every indication that the USOC will commit in December to picking one as its candidate.
"We're becoming more and more optimistic that we will be going forward," said Bob Ctvrtlik, the USOC's new international vice president.
Ctvrtlik is a central cog in the USOC's effort to spearhead a potential 2016 bid. A former Olympic volleyball player and current member of the International Olympic Committee and USOC board of directors, Ctvrtlik knows as much as any American about how to negotiate through the confusing terrain that is the IOC.
He, Ueberroth and CEO Jim Scherr spent much of the day reminding potential bidders that the United States' reputation is hurting - on the geopolitical front in the wake of an unpopular war, and on the Olympic front where the USOC leadership only recently has been stabilized after years of turmoil.
"The international community viewed us as a revolving door, and it was," Scherr said.
The key to the 2016 bid is for the city to figure out a way to overcome the negatives and get 51 percent of the approximately 120 votes come selection day in 2009.
"The next time I say it, it won't be in a friendly way," Ueberroth said. "You have to tell us how you can get 60 votes. That's your No. 1 objective."
To help set a roadmap, the USOC whipped out the overhead projector and presented what was essentially an "IOC 101" class to the dozen representatives from each city.
One presenter offered a detailed history of the modern Olympic movement. Then, Ctvrtlik tried to boil down the nuances of the seemingly impenetrable culture of the IOC into a 30-minute presentation.
He told the cities what they could expect in the areas of:
_Logistics: Get ready to make presentations to the IOC on a moment's notice, usually at an inconvenient time and in every far-flung corner of the globe.
_Personalities: For instance, memorize former IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch's face and show the proper respect. After all, everyone else does.
_Politics: Instead of hanging out in hotel lobbies, focus on making as much one-on-one contact as possible with members of the selection committee. Don't act smug, arrogant or celebrate a supposed victory too soon. Don't let politicians take over your operation as the deadline gets closer. Don't end up on the speed dial of Paquerette Girard Zappeli, leader of the IOC Ethics Commission.
All of this might seem intrinsic. But it was the perceived failure of New York to adhere to some of these basics - not to mention money problems that wracked the city's efforts throughout the process - that resulted in its failed bid for the 2012 Games.
"New York received 16 votes," Ueberroth said. "That's 16 votes for which NYC2012 spent almost $60 million, along with untold time, energy and other resources."
To avoid a repeat, the USOC is getting intimately involved in this bid process, which picks up steam internationally late next year.
Madrid, New Delhi, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Rome and Tokyo are among the cities that have expressed interest in landing the 2016 Games. Many cities are waiting to see if the United States decides to bid.
The USOC will firm up its decision on whether to make a bid by the end of the year. The city would be selected next April.
Although these cities will be responsible for their own presentations, they would be wise to listen to Ueberroth. He's the man who almost single-handedly transformed the Olympic movement into a multibillion-dollar business with his successful spearheading of the Los Angeles Games in 1984.
Along with Ctvrtlik and Scherr, Ueberroth reminded the cities that, at its core, the bid process is not enjoyable or easy. They passed out a three-volume, 530-page "bid book" to bring home that point.
Once a bid is won, things only get worse as criticism mounts and schedules often go unmet, Ueberroth said.
So, why bid?
"There is no property like the Olympic Games," Scherr said. "No city will undertake the Games if it's merely a losing proposition for them."

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