L.A., Chicago near finish line in race for Olympics bid

first_imgWASHINGTON – The delegation spearheading Los Angeles’ bid to host the 2016 Olympics was keeping a tight lid Thursday on details of its final presentation to the U.S. Olympic Committee. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will lead the 12-member delegation in its final, hourlong closed-door appearance Saturday that marks the city’s last chance to beat out Chicago to be America’s nominee for the games. Barry Sanders, who heads the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, sidestepped questions about whether the group will offer any last-minute surprises in its pitch. “We’ve been telling our story to (the USOC) for many months, and it hasn’t changed,” he said. The U.S. Olympic Committee will meet Saturday morning at the Washington Embassy Row Hotel in Washington, D.C., and first hear from the delegation representing Chicago. Chicago’s final pitch is expected to include a pledge from Illinois Gov. Rod Blagoievich that the state will ante up $150 million if the games end up losing money. Meanwhile, Southern California bidders are likely to tout the $250 million that the state Legislature recently agreed to underwrite if Los Angeles is chosen. Each appearance will include a 40-minute presentation and 20 minutes of questions from the USOC. Robert Livingstone, an expert on the Olympic selection process and founder of GameBids.com, said the 11-member committee may still have an open mind by the time the cities make their final presentations. “Final presentations in the past have won and lost bids,” Livingstone said. Livingstone noted that Paris was favored over London for the 2012 Olympics, but London’s stellar final presentation may have been a factor in its selection. And that lesson has not been lost on the Los Angeles delegation. “We’re going to put our best foot forward,” said David Simon, president of the Los Angeles Sports Council. The Olympic Committee is expected to announce its decision Saturday about 1 p.m. PDT. [email protected] (202) 662-8731160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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