San Francisco touts diversity,
beauty, existing facilities
Rob Gloster, AP Sports Writer
October 30, 2002 -- PALO ALTO,
CA : Towering redwoods and the fog-shrouded
Golden Gate Bridge provide the scenic backdrop.
The surrounding Silicon Valley contributes
the economic vitality. Every street corner
offers ethnic diversity rivaled by few cities
in the world.
What truly sets apart San Francisco's bid
for the 2012 Olympics, though, is Anne Cribbs,
an Olympic gold medalist and co-founder
of the first U.S. women's professional basketball
Cribbs is CEO of the Bay Area Sports Organizing
Committee, which is vying to bring the Summer
Games to Northern California a decade from
now. A groundbreaker and successful businesswoman,
Cribbs exemplifies the diversity and vision
she hopes will persuade the U.S. Olympic
Committee to choose San Francisco over New
York as the U.S. bid city to host the games.
"This is where the future happens.
We think this is where the Olympic movement
can do a bit of a shift, making it more
for the athlete," Cribbs said. "Maybe,
without being arrogant, the Olympics needs
The city chosen Saturday by the USOC in
Colorado Springs, Colo., will compete with
several international cities for the right
to host those Olympics. The International
Olympic Committee will choose the host city
Bay Area bid officials envision Olympic
mountain biking in Napa vineyards, sailing
events on San Francisco Bay and other sports
held within a "Ring of Gold" connecting
four sites -- San Francisco, Oakland/Berkeley,
Stanford and San Jose/Santa Clara.
Bay Area backers point out that 80 percent
of the sports facilities targeted for the
2012 Olympics, including 85,000-seat Stanford
Stadium, already exist. That would keep
costs down, and bid officials propose capital
investment of just $211 million -- extremely
low by Olympic standards.
The bidders promise a $409 million surplus
for the USOC that would be used for the
future development of Olympic sports in
the United States. And, they argue, the
low capital investment and the support of
Silicon Valley corporations mean San Francisco
could avoid the crass commercialism that
tainted the 1996 Atlanta Games.
"It would be a monster in terms of
uplifting the Bay Area. It would help the
economy and the young people," said
Jim Hines, a two-time gold medalist at the
1968 Mexico City Games who lives in suburban
San Francisco. "The Bay Area is perfect
for the 2012 Olympics. We can beat New York."
San Francisco touts its Olympic bid as one
catering to athletes, in terms of transportation,
and a dry, mild climate that averages a
daily high of 72 in July and August -- though
anyone who has ever shivered in the summer
fog at Candlestick Park knows a sweat shirt
is a year-round necessity.
And bid officials say Silicon Valley innovation
could help reform an Olympic movement trying
to downsize and modernize.
California has the fifth-largest economy
in the world, and the state is the top U.S.
destination for foreign tourists. It also
has been a big part of American success
at the Olympics: Californians have won more
than 700 Olympic medals, including 181 by
Stanford students and alums.
At the 2000 Sydney Games, California would
have placed sixth among all nations with
San Francisco is bidding to become the third
California site in Olympic history. Los
Angeles has hosted the Summer Games twice
and Squaw Valley has hosted the Winter Games.
"With a proud and proven Olympic heritage,
California is ready to be a great partner
to the USOC," Gov. Gray Davis said
in August when San Francisco and New York
became the finalists for the bid.
Besides Cribbs, athletes supporting the
Bay Area bid are former Olympians Matt Biondi
(swimming), Michael Johnson (track), Brian
Boitano (skating) and Kerri Strug (gymnastics).
Cribbs was 15 when she won a swimming gold
medal at the 1960 Rome Games as part of
the 400-meter medley team. In 1995, she
co-founded the short-lived American Basketball
League, which competed with the WNBA before
folding in 1998.
Cribbs sits in a cluttered office filled
with Olympic souvenirs: the first ball created
for the ABL and a letter from President
Clinton applauding her support of Title
IX, which helped fuel the explosive growth
in U.S. women's sports in recent decades.
In the days leading up to Saturday's choice,
she is stressing San Francisco's suitability
as an Olympic host and trying not to worry
about what many observers believe will be
a vote of sympathy for New York as it recovers
from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"We really have focused on what's positive
about our bid, from the finances to the
setting," she says. "I asked people
in our bid committee not to discount the
sympathy; we all know it's there. We just
have to make a case about what's good about