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San Francisco Olympic Committee ends bid to host 2016 Olympics after 49ers stadium snafu

By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service


November 13, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - San Francisco's withdrew its bid to host the 2016 summer Olympics today after plans to build a new stadium on Candlestick Point failed, committee head Scott Givens announced today.

"Damage has been done, and the damage can't be pulled back," Givens said. "It was done at a pivotal time in our development, and for these reasons we have decided on behalf of the city of San Francisco to withdraw from the competition for the 2016 Olympic games."

Givens placed the blame on San Francisco 49ers co-owner John York, who notified the bid committee as they were meeting with the U.S. Olympic Committee that the team would move to a yet-to-be-built stadium in Santa Clara.

"While we were at dinner with the USOC the announcement came through that the Yorks planned to go to Santa Clara with their venue," Givens said. "No warning to the Olympic team, no opportunity to recover, no opportunity to share with the USOC what options might be."

But in a letter sent to Mayor Gavin Newsom on Sept. 14 and released to the media today, York hinted that the team might not close a stadium deal.

"I believe it is important to remind you and the bid committee that there is still a significant hurdle to overcome, as we have not yet concluded that the needed mixed-use development plan at Candlestick Point is feasible," York wrote.

On Thursday, York cited the geographical challenges of building a sporting complex on peninsular Candlestick Point for his decision, and he expressed regret that the team would not be part of a revitalization plan for the Bayview-Hunters Point.

Angelo King, director of the Southeast Neighborhood Jobs Initiative, had been working with the bid committee on bringing opportunity to the abandoned naval shipyard at Hunters Point.

"People in Bayview are hanging on to hope," he said. "And the potential of that place is incredible, and when the series of events that have recently occurred happened ... You know, you got to understand that our hopes had been shot."

Givens said the Olympic bid committee was debating several options, which included modifying AT&T Park, existing Monster Park or Kezar Stadium. Those options ran into problems because of engineering, money and transportation issues, respectively.

The committee also considered building a temporary venue at Candlestick Point but scratched that plan because they didn't have enough notice to come up with schematics.

Givens also said that while sporting events could be held in a Santa Clara stadium, the opening and closing ceremonies are traditionally held within the host city limits.

San Francisco was competing for a U.S. Olympic bid against Los Angeles and Chicago. The winner of the U.S. bid would then compete against cities from around the world.

Givens said today it was too early to decide whether the committee would attempt to compete for the 2020 bid.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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