Hi 91 /Lo 71
|Volume 68, Issue 3,
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Houston loses out in Olympic race
By Savoyia Henderson and Nikie Johnson
After a five-year effort, many Houstonians' hopes of hosting the 2012
Olympic Games were dashed Tuesday. The United States Olympic
Along with Houston's chances went UH's role in the plan, which would
have put part of the Olympic Village on campus and called for UH's
The USOC made the announcement from Chicago, and Houston's City Hall tuned in to the broadcast.
Susan Bandy, president of Houston 2012, the organization in charge of
Houston's Olympic bid, said Houston had the best "technical bid" and
Bandy also said Houston's "international perception" went unknown. The
importance of the U.S. city's international appeal was highly touted
Houston Mayor Lee Brown said anyone who follows the Olympics "knows what our city has to offer."
"We came much farther than some thought we would," he said. "Maybe I'm a little bit biased, but I thought we should be No. 1."
UH's head track coach, Leroy Burrell, a former Olympic gold medallist, was on the Houston 2012 Board of Directors.
"I'm really disappointed," Burrell said. "I felt that technically and
financially we have the best bid -- or we had the best bid -- and I felt
that carried a
But he was able see the bright side, too: "I think that the process
has been very refreshing for the city, and we got to put our best foot
Now that Houstonians know the Olympics aren't coming here in 2012, many
of the projects that were part of the plan may get moved off the
That may be the case for UH, too. "I think it's too early to assess
what improvements will not be made," Burrell said. But since the athletics
"It's a lost opportunity to highlight what's good about the University
of Houston -- a lost opportunity for us to redevelop our neighborhood,
The USOC didn't give any direct reasons why Houston was eliminated.
The cities weren't ranked against each other, but rather against a neutral
The final 31 percent was something Charles H. Moore, the former Olympic
gold medallist who heads the task force, called "what it takes to win."
Washington, D.C., was also eliminated by the USOC, which will now decide
between New York and San Francisco. The IOC will make the final
The general consensus after the announcement was made was that, despite losing the bid, Houston came out a winner.
"I want to reiterate that Houston has learned through this process,"
Burrell said. "I think we've learned a lot about who we are. I think many
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