SBJ/June 4 - 10, 2001/2012 Games The Final Bids

LOS ANGELES: Bid riding on efficiency,confidence of organizers

Efficient and confident sum up the standing of the group looking to bring the Olympics to Los Angeles for what would be a third time.

Efficient, because the Los Angeles 2012 organizing committee finished revising its bid for the U.S. Olympic Committee a month ahead of last Friday's deadline, with most of the revisions purely cosmetic, according to David Simon, the group's president.

"The adjustments, the revisions, whatever you want to call it, weren't huge," Simon said. "They were along the lines of, 'Fit this on two pages, not three.' One was, 'You've given us the commute times from the [Olympic] Village to the venue, but you did it in today's time, not for what it will take in 2012.'"

As for confidence, that comes from the fact that, unlike some of the other contenders, Los Angeles has almost all the infrastructure to host the Games already in place, including the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (built for the 1932 Games), Staples Center (opened in 1999) and Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim (opened in 1993). That means less worry about securing the financial backing needed in other bid cities for construction of Games venues.

All candidate cities are required to come up with financial assurances for the costs related to hosting the Games, whether from local governments or private parties. But the nature of the assurances — for example, whether a specific amount of money needs to be pledged — has yet to be worked out. In a May meeting between the USOC and representatives of each U.S. group bidding for the Games, the issue was put off until December.

Simon declined to say exactly what kind of guarantee Los Angeles was prepared to offer, but he made it clear it wouldn't involve the use of public funds, an anathema in Los Angeles that two years ago played a part in costing the city an NFL expansion team. A group of wealthy private citizens securing the money isn't out of the question.

"It certainly won't be government money in L.A.," Simon said. "That just won't fly."

In addition to the 1932 Games, Los Angeles was host to the Summer Olympics in 1984. While organizers of the 2012 Games effort are careful not to rank their chances above the other seven markets seeking the Games, the people behind the local effort believe their bid will merit a long look from the USOC when its representatives travel to the city for a site inspection, starting Aug. 23.

Organizers added that the fact that their bid revision required no more than replacing pages in the 10 copies of the bid held in three-ring binders at USOC headquarters in Colorado speaks well for Los Angeles.

"While it's a small thing, it's kind of a metaphor for the kind of efficiency L.A. brings to the process," said Rich Perelman, technical director of Los Angeles 2012 and, like Simon and committee chairman John Argue, a veteran of the 1984 Games. "We think it will carry us all the way to the [2012] Games."  

John Brinsley is a writer living in Los Angeles.

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