Tom Welch, president of Salt Lake City's bid to stage the
2002 Winter Games, said Friday "his efforts should be
strengthened by the role of Atlanta as host" of the '96 Games.
Welch noted that Atlanta's success in raising some $1.6B from
private sources "should be a major plus" when the IOC votes next
year on the 2002 site. Two years ago, Salt Lake "narrowly lost
the race" to host the '98 Games to Nagano, Japan. Welch: "The
last time, the negative about us for some IOC members was that
Atlanta had the Games. For others, it was because the Winter
Games had not been staged in Asia for so long. And others just
didn't like us." Now, however, Welch expects the Atlanta Games
to be a "boon." Eight cities are bidding on 2002: Quebec City;
Jaca, Spain; Socchi, Russia; Ostersund, Sweden; Sion,
Switzerland; Graz, Austria; Poprad-Tatry, Slovakia; and Tarviso,
Italy. Salt Lake "generally is considered the front-runner, but
Welch said it was too early" (Larry Siddons, AP, 11/12).
QUEBEC: In its bid to host the 2002 Games, Quebec City "has
hit one big bump": finding a site for men's downhill skiing.
The International Ski Federation has rejected six of the sites
Quebec has proposed. On the political side, Quebec 2002 has
"tried to calm IOC concerns over the threat of separation, which
the Parti Quebecois government plans to accomplish in a
referendum this year." Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and
Foreign Affairs Minister Andre Ouellet have told IOC members that
Quebec separation is unlikely. "Political hurdles aside," IOC
Canadian representative Carol Anne Letheren expects Quebec City
to make the IOC short list in January, along with Salt Lake,
Sion, and Ostersund (AP, 11/12).
In Dallas, Mark McDonald writes, USOC President LeRoy Walker
"has compared the USOC to 'a small Fortune 500 company that
happens to be in the business of sports.' And Walker is
presiding over what is likely to be a significant downsizing of
the USOC." Walker, who has been examining budget recommendations
at the U.S. Olympic Congress in Nashville this weekend:
"Everything's on the table (to be cut)." The USOC's
participation in future World University Games is said to be "in
trouble," and Walker even floated the idea that the U.S. might
not send full teams to other major events if the U.S. athletes
would not be competitive (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/13). Anita
DeFrantz, one of the U.S.'s IOC members, said the size of U.S.
Olympic teams must not be affected by budget cutting. DeFrantz
suggested charging for time at Olympic training centers, federal
and state tax checkoffs and funding from pro sports as
alternative ways to trim budgets (AP, 11/12).
THE NASHVILLE RUMOR CIRCUIT: As for the USOC's Exec Dir
position that Harvey Schiller vacated for the presidency of
Turner Sports, "the job appears to be fund-raiser John Krimsky's
for the taking or leaving." Other names being floated: SWC
Commissioner Steve Hatchell, USA Gymnastics chief Sandy Knapp and
soon-to-be former Governors Ann Richards and Mario Cuomo (DALLAS
MORNING NEWS, 11/13). In New York, Jere Longman profiles
Krimsky: "The very same toughness that serves Krimsky well in
deal-making may make him unsuitable as executive director" (N.Y.
TIMES, 11/13). Walker on Krimsky: "We're going to get this done
with all deliberate speed. But we're going to do it right. One
thing that is a priority is getting Krimsky out of the dual-role
situation and into either one or the other. And the sooner the
better" (Bob Ford, PHILA. INQUIRER, 11/14).
When the IOC's oversight panel arrives this week, "its
members will find a city bustling with construction and Olympic
organizers focusing on the Games instead of controversy,"
according to Melissa Turner of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. The
last time the IOC came to check up on Atlanta in May, gay rights
activists and the Cobb County venue dispute "overshadowed ACOG's
progress report on Olympic operations." This time, the panel is
likely to focus on progress on the Olympic stadium, athletes
village and equestrian center, as well as the construction
schedule and venue designs. During the visit, the panel will
receive a review of how the city of Atlanta is progressing in its
preparations for the Games (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/13).
ACOG SHUFFLE: A power transition is beginning to take place
in ACOG. By design, the center of power is supposed to shift
from the various departments to the 31 venues. The shift makes
Dir of Venues Doug Arnot, a World Cup '94 veteran and newcomer to
ACOG, "potentially one of the most powerful people at the
committee." The idea is that having people "empowered to make
decisions in the field makes more sense than trying to run the
Games from a central command." Arnot is seen as a "challenge by
a number of ACOG's top folks," including broadcast head Manolo
Romero; Dick Yarbrough, ACOG CEO Billy Payne's "sage"; and sports
chief Dave Maggard. "There also has been considerable tension
between Arnot and construction chief Bill Moss, who has bristled
at Arnot's Johnny-come-lately second-guessing of venue designs."
ATLANTA CONSTITUTION's Bert Roughton notes that if Payne "can
referee these powerful egos, then the transition, while
difficult, could go on with minimal bloodshed. But if he can't,
the turf wars could freeze ACOG into gridlock a year and a half
from showtime" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/12).
"In a surprise move," Olympic organizers are seeking city
approval to use 15 of 25 "mega-signs" to pay tribute to cities
that have hosted the Games in the past. ACOG spokesperson Lyn
May said that the committee "intends to lock down the signs and
make them dramatically smaller than allowed by city law." ACOG
CEO Billy Payne last week promised the signs would be no larger
than 700 sq. feet, even though a recently passed city ordinance
would allow as much as 3,600 square feet. The remaining 10 signs
still will be available to Olympic sponsors who pay the $40M
sponsorship fee (Lyle Harris, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/12).