The City makes the Olympic cut

San Francisco on Wednesday made the final list of American cities for a possible 2016 Olympics bid, but the U.S. Olympic Committee president indicated he is not necessarily optimistic that the U.S. will even bid on the games.

Peter Ueberroth announced at a news conference in Denver that San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago were still in contention, and that Houston and Philadelphia had been eliminated from consideration.

“Chicago and San Francisco are offering a very dramatic waterfront plan,” USOC Vice President Bob Ctvrtlik said. Los Angeles, he said, made the cut because its plan includes “the distinct advantage of built-in readiness.” Los Angeles hosted the 1984 summer games.

In 2002, San Francisco was one of two finalists for the 2012 games, but ultimately lost that bid to New York, which ended up losing the international bid to London. In May, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that The City was once again in the running, this time for the 2016 games. Newsom has announced plans for an Olympic Village in the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard that would house thousands of athletes, and with 49ers officials he unveiled plans last week for a new football stadium at Candlestick Point that would serve as the site of the Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, should San Francisco host the games.

Ueberroth said the USOC analyzed information collected from each city in order to make its decision. As part of that process, USOC officials visited San Francisco, and Newsom made a pitch last month to the committee in San Diego. The committee also polled 100 members of the international Olympic movement, he said, including 58 members of the International Olympic Committee and 42 others, including heads of international athletic federations.

“I would say that in this analysis, it was weighted at least four times more heavily than any other criteria,” Ueberroth said of the international opinion gleaned.

If the USOC makes a bid for the 2016 games, it will decide on the U.S. bid city in March 2007, spokesman Darryl Seibel said Tuesday.

Toward the end of the news conference, a reporter mentioned that Ueberroth didn’t seem entirely optimistic that the U.S. would make a bid. “That’s a good read,” Ueberroth said. At this point, he said, none of the three finalist cities is competitive internationally. He declined to specify what drawbacks each city had, saying he would share that information with the cities’ mayors first.

amartin@examiner.com

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