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  • Olympic Bids: Beat the Clock In Ghana`


    06/17/05

     
    ATR)Timekeeping described as "rude" kept New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg from speaking during New York 2012?s presentation at a crucial Olympics meeting in Ghana today. Observers say all the bids were affected by technical mayhem and noisy timekeeping.

    Dismay is one of the leading reactions of the bid cities to the discombobulated hour of presentations made in Accra at the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa general assembly

    The presentations were the last head-to-head encounter among the cities before the IOC's July 6 vote on a 2012 host. With more than a dozen IOC members in attendance, including President Jacques Rogge, the meeting was seen as a crucial place to make a good impression.

    "It was a challenging afternoon for all the cities," says one of the bid staffers in Accra about the way the meeting was managed and the problems playing videos and slides.

    Beginning about an hour late to begin, Paris was the first to suffer through audio visual hassles, but managed to complete its program. "In ten minutes, not a second longer," insists Philippe Baudillon, though his rivals say Paris timed at 13 minutes and had been asked to stop.

    New York, number two, became the first victim of the unyielding clock. In a move described as "rude" by a bid official not from New York, New Mayor Michael Bloomberg was given the hook before uttering a word.

    Time was kept by ANOCA vice president Zoumaro Gnofame, a Togo general, who made loud two minute warnings to all of the cities before cutting them off.

    Indeed, for number three Moscow, a technical meltdown is blamed on plugs that were pulled to end New York?s presentation.

    London lost out on a video due to timing.

    Going last worked to Madrid's advantage, managing director Antonio Fernandez Arimany tells Around the Rings. He says with ample warning from the experience of the preceding cities, the Madrid team cut its presentation to fit 10 minutes before stepping on stage, the only one to complete its presentation without being cut off.

    While Madrid proudly trumpeted their success at beating the clock in a press release, that same release mentioned with seeming relish the pitfalls that came the way of New York and London. It was an unusual observation to find in a bid city release.

    NYC 2012 Executive Director Jay Kriegel is not complaining about the mayor's treatment, saying what really counted in the presentation, speeches from former Mayor David Dinkins, NBA player Dikembe Motumbo and banker Adebayo Ogunlesi, all went on as planned. And he says Bloomberg was able to make plenty of personal contacts away from the stage.

    Moscow 2012's Alexander Chernov shrugs off the problems, saying that it was more important "to look people in the eye" with one-on-one encounters.

    Several bid officials expressed frustration with the technical problems found at every joint appearance in the past year. They say the IOC may have to step in with future bids to insure technical standards for bid presentations in the interest of fairness to the cities.

    Arimany says IOC members he spoke with after the hour of confusion expressed their apologies for the slipshod and arbitrary proceedings the cities had to endure.

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