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NY, San Francisco In Running For US 2012 Olympic Host Bid - 2002-08-28

The United States Olympic Committee has chosen New York and San Francisco as finalists to become the U.S. candidate to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. The decision was announced Tuesday in Chicago.

The U.S. Olympic Committee's bid evaluation task force reviewed four cities: New York, San Francisco, Houston and Washington, D.C. Task force head Charlie Moore announced the decision late in the day.

"The bid evaluation team has selected New York and San Francisco," he said.

New York had been considered a sentimental favorite to become a finalist because of the terrorist attacks last September, but Mr. Moore says the attacks did not influence the task force vote.

"We gave no recognition, if you will, to 9/11. It does not mean we do not feel strong about the tragedy of 9/11. But, we did not try to factor that into our deliberations in any of our scoring or ranking," he said.

The head of New York's Olympic effort, Dan Doctoroff, says New York does not want anyone's sympathy vote in its bid to host the games. He says New York and the Olympics are a perfect fit because both are places where people come to chase dreams, and gathering places for the world.

"It doesn't matter what country you are from," he said. "When you come to New York, if you are an athlete there will be a whole community of people to cheer you on. If you are a parent of an athlete, thousands and thousands of people from every nationality group can help house you, cook your food, speak your language, celebrate with you, commiserate with you." International appeal was one of the factors considered by the task force, and while New York certainly has that, so too does San Francisco. Dan Stiles of the San Francisco bidding group says his city will give New York some tough competition in the final presentation. He does think, though, that emotions could play some role in the final choice.

"Decisions by bodies of humans or groups of human beings always involve a whole range of factors from emotion to pure intellect to deep rational thought and calculation," he said.

The task force praised the two cities not selected, Houston and Washington, D.C., for putting together excellent bids. While not saying specifically why those two cities were not chosen the task force did say the bidding process made all four cities better places. John Morton is head of the Washington D.C. bidding group.

"When we looked at just the way our region came together and the way we focused our resources and actions and passion, it is a great lead for the future. I think if we can keep that same focus and commitment, that we can take what we did here with the Olympic effort, and build on our future to make our community much better," he said.

New York and San Francisco officials will make their final presentations before the USOC's board of directors in November. The board will then announce which of the two will be the United States' candidate to host the 2012 Summer Games. The International Olympic Committee will announce the host city in 2005.

How much of a chance the United States has of hosting the 2012 games could become better known on Wednesday. That's when the International Olympic Committee announces the host city of the 2010 Winter Games. The Canadian city of Vancouver is among the favorites and some analysts think if Canada hosts the 2010 games, it is not likely the United States would host the Summer Games two years later.