‘Secret weapon’ leading the way

Although San Francisco lost its quest to host the 2012 Olympics, Mayor Gavin Newsom said The City has a “secret weapon” for the 2016 bid.

In securing Scott Givens, a creative consultant for five previous Olympic games, to head up the San Francisco 2016 Exploratory Committee, Newsom said The City has sharpened its competitive edge.

“He understands the values of the Olympics, and he understands athletes … and he has a great appreciation for San Francisco,” Newsom told The Examiner. “I’ll be honest with you, I’m still sitting here going, ‘Where did Scott come from, how lucky can we get?’’

Although Givens is currently lending his Olympic expertise to The City free of charge, if San Francisco is selected as the nation’s 2016 candidate city, he’ll be paid to run the bid, said Jessie Blout, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

Givens, 42, began his work with the international games in Atlanta in 1996 and most recently consulted for this year’s Winter Games in Torino. He also served as Managing Director for Creative and Ceremonies at the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He is currently based in Monterey, but has family throughout the Bay Area, he said.

“For me, this is a dream,” Givens said. “San Francisco has all of the attributes for an incredible Olympic Games.”

Givens said the key focus of any plan has to be on the men and women who compete.

“Successful games have to be about the athletes, the entirety of their experience,” Givens said.

The City’s air quality and summer weather present the optimal environment, he said.

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