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

WASHINGTON, D.C.·BALTIMORE: Hosts of first site visit promise a capital show

Washington-area organizers of the bid for the 2012 Olympics want to set the standard when they host the eight-member U.S. Olympic Committee site evaluation team June 10-13.

Washington/Baltimore is the first stop on the committee's eight-market tour this summer.

"We are happy to go early," said Dan Knise, CEO of the local organizing group. "We think a certain amount of fatigue will set in for the site evaluation team."

RFK Stadium in Washington is one of the key venues the site evaluation team will visit during its brief analysis of the area. The local Games bid calls for a rebuilt RFK to be the site for track and field competition, as well as potentially hosting the opening and closing ceremonies.

Knise is working on the Games' venues plans with facility veteran Bobby Goldwater, president and executive director of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, the organization that operates RFK Stadium and the D.C. Armory. The Armory is the proposed site for boxing competition. The parking lots and grounds surrounding the stadium are being discussed as possible Olympic park sites.

"We will only have 45 minutes to show the entire facility," Goldwater said. "It's not a lot of time. We will set up the Armory for boxing. Dave Matthews performs in RFK June 9. We will have a quick change, but it will be spotless for the visit."

Lisa Delpy Neirotti, professor of sports management at George Washington University, said the area's U.S. significance also should be stressed to the USOC representatives. Neirotti has studied the Games extensively and has been involved in consulting work for each Olympics since 1984.

"Remind them we are an international city," she said. "Bring them down Embassy Row. It will be a subtle hint. And don't let them forget it is the nation's capital. They need to highlight the scenery and backdrop we have."

In addition to preparing for the committee visit, organizers are taking care of a variety of issues relating to the effort to get the Games.

Officials recently dropped the Washington/Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition moniker they had been using in favor of Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition. The actual bid being submitted for the Games is now called Washington, D.C. 2012, complying with the USOC's request that all bidding organizations use a single-city designation.

Legislation providing financial guarantees on costs related to the Games has been passed in Virginia and in Maryland. A comparable bill was introduced to the D.C. City Council and is expected to pass. The first hearing was scheduled for last Wednesday.

"It's just a slower process in D.C.," said Knise. "We feel we have broad support and expect it to move smoothly."

The group also recently settled a lawsuit filed against it by Elizabeth Ganzi and her company, the Greater Washington Exploratory Committee. Ganzi sought compensation for the role she played in initiating the efforts of Washington to be one of U.S. cities bidding for the 2012 Games. When Washington and Baltimore created a regional bid, the group then known as WBRC 2012 was selected over Ganzi's group to lead the effort.

As part of the settlement, Ganzi agreed to dismiss the lawsuit and forgo any further legal action. All other terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

"We are happy to get the distraction behind us," Knise said. "We have a lot of business to do. We didn't need it hanging over our heads. We're both getting on with our lives."

Ganzi, who was unavailable for comment, will have no future role with the bid coalition.   

Cynthia Hobgood writes for the Washington Business Journal.

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