Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Let the Site Games Begin

November 05, 2002

You probably have not quite yet booked vacation travel for July 27 to Aug. 12, 2012. But the process for reserving a Summer Olympics site at that time is well underway. The International Olympic Committee won't pick the city for two years. But the U.S. Olympic Committee last weekend made New York America's 2012 nominee.

A lot can happen in 10 years: By then, the United Nations might actually have an Iraq resolution, Caltrans could do five more two-year studies of Hollywood Freeway improvements, and Gray Davis should be about done with fund-raising for his 2002 reelection campaign.

Alas, New York's win at one end of Interstate 80 destroyed the Bay Area's hopes at the other, plus any chance of a fourth California Olympics soon. From a few Greeks wrestling in loincloths, the Olympics have become huge business -- thanks to TV -- both in terms of money and public relations. New Yorkers estimate preparatory Olympic spending at $5.4 billion, including a new West Side stadium and subway line, a pittance compared with Beijing's $30-billion budget for 2008. But it'll create momentum behind controversial infrastructure improvements.

New York's strength, as when the city was picked for the United Nations' headquarters more than five decades ago, is its immigrant diversity plus financial and political clout, now flavored by renowned resilience from the 9/11 attacks. The United States' advantage -- and problem -- as the lone superpower is that it is always more important to other countries than they are individually to it. This creates leverage and resentments.

Seven of the IOC's top 10 financial backers are U.S. corporations, as is the TV rights owner, NBC. If Vancouver gets the 2010 Winter Olympics nod next summer, that could give the Eurocentric IOC an excuse to choose another location for 2012 -- Moscow, Madrid, Budapest, Paris or even Rio de Janeiro.

A united New York could perhaps stage as profitable a Games as Los Angeles' in 1984 and Salt Lake City's this year, producing vital funds for amateur American athletics. And if you get in the cab line at LaGuardia Airport anytime this month, you might just make the opening ceremonies in 2012.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|