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New York City Aims to Host 2012 Olympics - 2004-05-14

More than 100 U.S. Olympic athletes are gathering in New York City to promote the U.S. team's participation in the Olympic games this August. New York City officials are taking advantage of the opportunity to highlight their bid to host the 2012 Olympic games.

The U.S. Olympic committee is kicking off an elaborate, four-day media summit to introduce the American athletes who will be competing at the Olympic games in Athens, Greece, beginning August 13.

Meanwhile, New York City officials who want to convince the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that New York should host the 2012 games, detailed their proposals for hundreds of reporters and showed short films.

Speaker: ?Only in New York would you find Indians and Pakistanis living and working together. Only in New York will you find synagogues and mosques on the same block. New York is truly an Olympic Village every day.?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says New York is a natural place for the Olympics because the city's many different ethnic communities reflect the global nature of the Olympic games. But he also says the city is willing to make whatever improvements are necessary to convince the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

?We've got to make this city represent everything that the IOC would like the host city to be,? he said. ?That means bringing crime down, that means improving our school system, that means building.?

New York City is home to several major sports teams and has a number of large sports complexes throughout the city, as well as, access to arenas in nearby New Jersey. Members of New York's Olympic committee say each facility is close to a major highway and can be easily reached, but the center of New York City does not have a major Olympic-sized stadium, a necessary element for any city that hopes to welcome the Olympic games.

Deputy mayor Daniel Doctoroff, who launched New York's campaign to host the Olympics eight years ago, said that the city hopes to build a major stadium in a desolate section of Manhattan.

?Today that area is filled with rail yards, auto body shops, parking lots, vacant lots, there is nothing there,? he said. ?So we, initially NYC 2012 and now the city and state are moving forward through the land review and environmental review processes on a bold plan to transform this blighted area into one of New York's great places and the Olympics are the catalyst for making it happen.?

Residents of the neighborhood near where the proposed 75,000 seat stadium would be built say the massive structure could force up to 20,000 residents out of their homes. Still, New York City Olympic officials say New Yorkers are in favor of hosting the Olympics by a seven to one margin.

Nine other cities are also competing to host the 2012 Olympics. International officials will make their decision in July of next year.