New York Named Finalist In 2012 Olympic Bid
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New York City has passed another hurdle in its bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics.
At a meeting in Switzerland on Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee narrowed the list of candidates to New York, Paris, London, Moscow and Madrid. Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, Leipzig and Havana were cut.
“On behalf of eight million New Yorkers and 280 million Americans, I would like to thank the IOC for the tremendous honor of making us one of the candidate cities,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “We are flattered, we are humbled, and all I can say to them is we will do everything we can to further the Olympic movement and to do everything we can to make New York City reflect all of the great values that the IOC stands for.”
After six years' work and about $$25 million, the city's privately-funded Olympic committee, NYC2012, is closer to getting the gold, but it's not going to be a shoo-in. New York came in fourth out of the remaining five cities on so-called “technical qualifications,” like overall infrastructure, security and ability to accommodate tourists. The IOC ranked Paris number one.
However, NYC2012 spokesman Mike Moran says there's no need to panic.
“New York has the most superior technical bid ever presented by an American city for the Olympic Games, not to mention the quality of New York because it is such an international city, and it has focused itself and the bid on athletes, the most important people in the Olympic Games," said Moran.
New York’s plan includes an Olympic Village on the Queens waterfront and a stadium on the West Side of Manhattan that would also serve as the new home for the Jets. Venues would be built in all five boroughs, and to reduce traffic, most would be accessible by new ferries and a light rail service to shuttle athletes to venues around the city.
“Transportation is huge,” said Olympic swimmer Jenny Thompson. “You don't want to be worrying about how you're going to get to the competition site on the day of your race."
But some say New York's biggest advantage in the competition is its international appeal.
“Whoever will come will have a niche here,” said former Olympic figure skater Oksana Baiul. “If they want to go uptown, downtown, Chinatown, Russian places - everything is here.”
The city must submit its final plans to the IOC by November of this year. The committee will then visit the remaining contenders this winter and make a final decision by July 2005.
The field of European capitals will be stiff competition for New York, since the IOC’s membership is predominantly European.