Local sports and business leaders hope to bolster their bid to bring the 2012 Summer Olympic Games to Los Angeles by placing a greater emphasis on the city's cultural venues when U.S. Olympic Committee members arrive in three weeks.
With the city last on the list of eight regions the USOC will tour this summer, the Los Angeles 2012 Bid Committee has been watching the reactions of the eight Olympic officials as they visit other cities.
As a matter of tradition, each city outwardly receives praise. But recently a Houston city official admitted that city may not have placed enough emphasis on its museums and performing arts centers when the USOC toured there. This prompted L.A. bid committee members to rework the presentations they will make when USOC members arrive.
"It was something I had not expected to see in any of the comments," said Richard Perelman, the L.A. bid committee's technical director. "The fact that the USOC mentioned that they should emphasize their cultural facilities more, that tells us that we also ought to be thinking about that in our presentation."
The actual USOC tour will be restricted to sports venues, but the bid committee will highlight cultural facilities, along with the region's other amenities in a high-tech presentation being put together by 10 paid staff and volunteers.
The sites local officials want to show off include the Getty Museum, the future Disney Hall, Los Angeles Music Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the UCLA Hammer Museum.
Last December, Los Angeles submitted an 839-page, 22-pound bid proposal to the Colorado Springs, Colo. USOC, joining Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, New York, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington as cities competing for the Summer Games.
The USOC will narrow the field down to three or four cities by the end of the year before nominating one city to represent the United States in a pool of as many as a dozen international candidates. From that the International Olympic Committee will choose a winner in 2005.
Some believe that the U.S. chances for landing the 2012 Olympics were enhanced when the IOC recently selected Beijing as site of the 2008 games beating out Toronto, among other cities because the committee would probably not have consecutive summer Olympics on the same continent.
While venues, housing, transportation and adequate financing remain the most important elements, one USOC official said extensive cultural offerings could ultimately be a determining factor in which city receives the bid.
"The more attractive a city is nationally and internationally, the better chance it is going to have of being named the Olympic host city," said Robert Condron, the USOC's director of media services. "A lot of times, the people don't go to 17 days of Olympic Games. They want to do other things."
Still basking in the glow of the $223 million profit from the 1984 Olympics, officials here submitted what it believes is a more transportation-friendly proposal that would create a projected $96 million surplus in 2012.
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