2024 Olympics in store for Washington-Baltimore? -- Gazette.Net


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Luring the 2024 Summer Olympic Games to Maryland would be a multibillion-dollar economic boon to the state, but would come with challenges that include building an Olympic Stadium, says an official who led the state’s 2012 bid.

Dan Knise, president and CEO of the Washington-Baltimore 2012 Regional Coalition who led that bid, said this week that talks to bring the 2024 Olympics to the region are in the preliminary stages, but he has received positive feedback from some who worked on the 2012 bid a decade ago.

Facilities such as M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, FedEx Field in Landover and the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis give the Maryland-Washington, D.C., region an advantage over competitors, he said.

“We already have so much infrastructure in place,” said Knise, also president and CEO of McLean, Va., specialty insurance brokerage Ames & Gough.

“We would still have to build quite a bit,” he said. “But [the Olympics] have perfected the use of temporary facilities. ... We would have to do an Olympic Stadium.”

In 2002, the U.S. Olympic Committee nominated New York out of eight regions, including Maryland-Washington, D.C., that submitted bids.

“We got very close to getting that bid,” Knise said. The terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, “was the main factor that gave New York the nod.”

London eventually was chosen by the International Olympic Committee to host this summer’s Games. That city has done an excellent job, said Knise, who returned Sunday from a week-long visit to the Olympics.

“The Games brought that region and country together,” he said.

Among the events he witnessed was Towson native Michael Phelps winning another gold medal. Phelps won six medals in London and holds the all-time record for most medals by an Olympian with 22.

Many members of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce were involved with the state’s 2012 bid, said Kathleen T. Snyder, president and CEO of that organization. She did not know of any members who were in early discussions on a potential 2024 bid.

“Shooting for success in 2024 not only raises the visibility of one of the strongest economic corridors in the country but would help unite various regions behind a single vision,” Snyder said. “It may be a long shot, but you don't know until you try.”

Economic impact of $5.3 billion

The Washington-Baltimore coalition’s proposal for the 2012 bid called for Baltimore to host gymnastics, soccer finals and other events; the Naval Academy in Annapolis to house fencing, the pentathlon, beach volleyball and sailing; and Washington to have basketball, tennis and others.

FedEx Field would have hosted soccer matches, while the canoe competition would have been in Western Maryland. Dormitories at the University of Maryland, College Park, would have housed athletes. Several projects likely would have received federal funding boosts, including Baltimore's proposed $2.2 billion Red Line light rail.

The economic impact of the 2012 games for the region would have been $5.3 billion, according to a 2000 report by economists Stephen Fuller of George Mason University and Richard Clinch of the University of Baltimore. The event would have cost about $2 billion to develop and operate. Some 70,000, mostly temporary, jobs were expected to be created.

Maryland and the Washington region also would have benefited from an “enhanced world-class image as a good place to live and do business,” Fuller and Clinch said in the report.

The legacy of the Olympic Games also would have provided “long lasting benefits to the area’s residents in the form of new and improved world-class athletic facilities, enhanced transportation facilities and other infrastructure, and renewed community spirit and inter-regional cooperation,” they said.

Companies such as Bethesda hotelier Marriott International and Giant Food of Landover lent financial support for the 2012 bid. Elizabeth McGlasson, a spokeswoman for Marriott, said she had not heard anything about Marriott executives being involved in discussions about a potential local 2024 bid.

Rio de Janiero is slated to host the summer Olympics in 2016. Finalists for 2020 are Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul.

kshay@gazette.net