New York the U.S. nominee for 2012 Olympic Games
By MICHAEL SAUL and TRACY CONNOR
New York Daily News
NEW YORK – New York is going for the gold.
The city cleared an Olympic hurdle on Saturday night when it was picked to be the U.S. nominee for the 2012 Summer Games.
New York hasn’t reached the finish line yet: It still must compete with cities around the globe for the nod from the International Olympic Committee.
But Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who traveled to Colorado Springs for the announcement, and other officials were beaming after the first-round victory. On a weighted scale of voting by the 123 members of the U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors, New York received 132 points out of a possible 223.
“It’s a wonderful thing,” Bloomberg said. “Now what we have to do is go and build up our plan, flesh it out, get some of these projects going . . . and convince the International Olympic Committee in 2005.”
That’s when the decision on the host city will be made.
Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, the chief architect of the city’s bid, said New York won because it “represents what the Olympics is all about.”
“There is an unbelievable spirit in the city which is unlike anything we’ve seen before,” said Doctoroff, who came up with the idea of bringing the Games to New York during a 1994 World Cup match at Giants Stadium.
The U.S. Olympic Committee board cast its secret ballots on Saturday after a powerhouse hour-long presentation by New York – including speeches by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and comedian Billy Crystal.
The city showed a star-studded video, with cameos by Bette Midler, Woody Allen and Peter Gallagher and footage from a staged ticker-tape parade.
“We absolutely love big events – the bigger the better,” Giuliani told the committee.
“Our city’s experience with world-class events is second to none,” he added. “If you choose New York, if you do us this honor, we want to let you know in no uncertain terms: We will not fail you.”
Brian Olson was one of the USOC board members who voted for New York, saying the city is “superbly qualified.”
“These are two very great cities. Each one has so much to offer,” Olson said. “New York’s got such a hustle and bustle, such a diversity. I kind of feel like New York was a little bit ahead.”
About 150 New Yorkers gathered at the Winter Garden in downtown Manhattan to watch the announcement by USOC President Marty Mankamyer on a live simulcast.
The crowd went wild with applause and tears when the city’s winning bid was announced.
“I’m not going to be the governor in 2012, but I’m going to be here cheering on the athletes,” Gov. Pataki told the ecstatic bunch. He joined the crowd in singing along to “New York, New York.”
The International Olympic Committee will pick the host in 2005 from a group of as many as 10 cities, including London, Rome, Paris and Moscow.
Securing the Olympic Games would mark the first time since the 1964 World’s Fair that New York would benefit from a massive cash infusion to develop new roads, bridges and other facilities.
Every borough stands to benefit. The city’s blueprint for the Games includes an Olympic Village on the Queens waterfront, an equestrian center on Staten Island, an archery center at Williamsburg Park in Brooklyn and improvements to the Orchard Beach pavilion in the Bronx.
The centerpiece of the bid proposal is an 86,000-seat stadium that would be built on Manhattan’s West Side near the Javits Center. The mayor reconfirmed his commitment to the stadium Saturday night – even if the city doesn’t win the Games.
(Melissa Grace contributed to this report.)