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Salt Lake City Is Expected to Be 2002 Games Finalist

January 23, 1995|RANDY HARVEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Salt Lake City, which lost by four votes in balloting four years ago for the right to organize the 1998 Winter Olympics, is virtually certain to be among four cities selected as finalists Tuesday in the campaign for the 2002 Winter Games.

Other clear favorites to emerge as finalists after nine cities appear today at Lausanne, Switzerland, before a panel appointed by the International Olympic Committee are Oestersund, Sweden, and Sion, Switzerland.

Quebec City is a strong contender, but its bid could be curtailed if the panel determines that the tentative approval awarded to the city's downhill site by the international skiing federation is too tentative. The panel also is concerned about secession efforts within the province of Quebec that could adversely affect the bid's financial commitment from Canada's federal government.

Other cities bidding are Graz, Austria; Jaca, Spain; Poprad-Tetry, Slovakia; Sochi, Russia; and Tarvisio, Italy. The panel, chaired by IOC Vice President Kim Un Yong of South Korea, will hear 50-minute presentations from each city today before selecting the finalists Tuesday.

The entire IOC membership will decide the winner in a June 16 vote at Budapest, Hungary.

The IOC in the past has allowed all candidates to campaign until the final vote, but, in one of several rules adopted to reform the site-selection process, it decided to cut the field this year in an effort to financially spare cities that have little chance of winning. If the IOC is satisfied with the system, it will extend it to the race for the 2004 Summer Olympics. Twelve cities have expressed interest in bidding.

Nagano, Japan, will play host to the 1998 Winter Games.

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