Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Upcoming Report Is Last Milestone in Bid

Subject: Upcoming IOC Report - see last four paragraphs
Date: 6/1/2005 9:28:19 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Publication: The New York Sun;
Date: Jun 1, 2005; Section: New York; Page: 2

Upcoming Report Is Last Milestone in Bid
Mr. Livingstone is the producer of

On Monday, New York and the other four 2012 Olympic bid hopefuls will
finally get feedback from the International Olympic Committee on the
preparations they have been making for the last 12 months. The last
milestone of the campaign will be marked by the release of the Technical
Evaluation Report, a document written by the evaluation committee in
response to the bid books submitted by the candidates last November and
visits to the potential sites made earlier this year.

Remember those days in February, when the IOC was in town and the city
seemed to stand still as the 13-member committee enjoyed all the
hospitality New York could offer? The evaluation report was written shortly
thereafter to provide IOC members with the information they�ll need to cast
their ballot. Since then, the document has been hidden somewhere in the
IOC�s Swiss headquarters for no apparent reason other than to create
lastminute suspense.

But, by the end of March there were already leaked reports suggesting that
Paris,London,and New York were identified as leaders in the race � an
interesting piece of information since the IOC claims they do not rank the
bids on the report.

When I receive a copy of the report, the first thing I�ll do is flip to the
last page of the summary for each bid and read the final few paragraphs.
That�s where the evaluation commission gives its thumbs-up or thumbs-down
on the bid and provides backup for their choice in the most diplomatic way
possible. They probably know, as I suspect, that IOC members just don�t
take the time to read the entire report and are just seeking general
guidance before making up their own minds.

Recent bid history shows that the evaluation report has a limited effect on
the outcome of the final vote. Cities chosen to be the hosts of the Games
are usually �good enough,� but not necessarily the best in the field, and
while the report often effectively trims poor bids from the list, it
doesn�t usually identify the eventual winner.

For 2008, the IOC�s evaluation divided the field of five into two groups.
Osaka and Istanbul were designated alsorans after severe deficiencies were
noted, while Toronto, Paris, and Beijing were considered top contenders
with only minor problems. In reality Toronto and Paris had superior bids
but the politics of the day required that Beijing be given special
handling, so the summary was carefully worded to show Beijing in third �
without making it obvious. Beijing won the bid.

For the 2010 winter bid, the three cities being evaluated weren�t ranked,
but it was clear from the summary that the bid from Pyeongchang was
considered a distant third. The Korean city went on to win the first ballot
of the host city election before narrowly losing on the final ballot.

While the bid committees from Paris and Madrid have both announced national
celebrations in advance of the report, New York seems to be taking a more
low-key approach � perhaps looking to a Jets Stadium approval as better
reason to celebrate.

NYC2012 will be most interested in two sections of the report.

They are already aware of IOC concerns about the unapproved Olympic
stadium, but the bid committee will want to examine any further comments
regarding the matter to determine how to deal with it if the stadium
remains an outstanding issue.

More interesting to New Yorkers will be the IOC�s reaction to NYC2012�s
financial plan, which includes a $250 million cost overrun guarantee and a
$200 million contingency fund. While bid executives claim that a $450
million margin is more than sufficient for managing the organization of the
Olympics in America, the plan doesn�t match the unlimited guarantees
proposed by the other four bids and required by the IOC. Should this be
raised as a significant roadblock, NYC2012 will have a lot of explaining to
do � and not much time to do it.

With the delays and skyrocketing costs associated with the Athens 2004
Games still fresh in their memories,the IOC probably won�t want to take any
unnecessary risks. If the costs of a New York 2012 Games were to exceed
budget by more than the guaranteed amount, who would pay? The IOC will not
assume liability for this, so NYC2012 may have to come up with a better
solution if it hopes to be elected.

NYC2012 will have the opportunity to respond, in writing, to questions or
deficiencies raised by the report. The response will be due about two weeks
after the report�s release; shortly after, the NYC2012 team will make final
preparations for its trip to Singapore and the host city election.

Ignore the countdown clocks at Union Square and Times Square. NYC2012 will
run out of time long before then.

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