Newsom sees S.F. bid for 2016 Olympics as strong

San Francisco has formed an exploratory committee in its efforts to potentially become the host city of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Emerging from his office Thursday after a two-hour meeting with U.S. Olympic Committee officials, Mayor Gavin Newsom said he was now “more resolved and more enthusiastic” about pursuing a possible bid to host the international sporting event.

San Francisco was the last stop on a two-week tour of five cities — including Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles — from which the USOC will select the nation's representative if that city decided to make an international bid for the 2016 games.

Bob Ctvrtlik, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and a former Olympic volleyball player, said the committee was impressed by San Francisco’s presentation and that the most important factor was “how a city rates internationally.”

Earlier Thursday, members visited Los Angeles. USOC Chairman Peter Ueberroth — who organized L.A.’s 1984 games — said the city has some “deficiencies” as a possible venue. He declined to be specific but noted that Los Angeles was eliminated in the first round of USOC voting for the 2012 games.

New York beat out San Francisco as the choice for the U.S. bid city that time but lost to London in voting last summer by the International Olympic Committee. For the 2012 domestic bid, San Francisco spent more than $4 million.

Newsom said optimistically that The City's unsuccessful proposal would be used as a “baseline” for a stronger bid — although he declined to discussthe details. Although the previous bid was centered on Stanford Stadium, on Wednesday, Newsom said he felt the area had a stronger chance of getting the games if they centered in San Francisco.

Managing The City’s efforts will be Scott Givens, who has been a consultant for several games, including work as the creative director for Salt Lake City’s 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

“I have very strong roots to San Francisco, and a long history with the Olympics,” Givens said. “Hopefully, we can put San Francisco in a better place while we move toward 2016.”

Ueberroth said the committee is to choose its representative city next year, adding that the committee won’t bid if it feels an American city won’t have a chance of winning approval from the IOC voters, who make their choice in 2009.

He also said the USOC will insist that any city’s bid process must be funded entirely from the private sector “so we don’t impact schools, we don’t impact hospitals … we don’t want to impact the taxpayers.”

He didn’t supply a cost estimate, but noted that New York spent an estimated $50 million to $60 million on its losing bid.

San Francisco has never hosted the Olympic Games.

beslinger@examiner.com

AP contributed to this report.

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