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  • Jay Kriegel, New York Olympic Bid Leader, 79


    (ATR) Jay Kriegel was a seasoned veteran of politics, business and media in New York City when he was tapped to join the bid team for New York City seeking the 2012 Olympic Games.

    Jay Kriegel with Dan Doctoroff at a 2002 USOC meeting where they won the US nomination to bid for 2012. (ATR)
    He was recruited by then Mayor Michael Bloomberg to be Executive Director of the bid. Along with real estate developer Dan Doctoroff, who came up with the idea for New York to bid, the two men were the faces of the campaign.

    In 2002, they were successful winning the backing of the U.S.Olympic Committee, which originally considered four cities. Two cities were shortlisted, San Francisco and New York City.

    Kriegel died Dec. 5, complications from melanoma reported to be the cause. He was recognized at a tribute in Manhattan last month but he was not able to attend due to his illness.

    While Kriegel and Doctoroff didn’t have direct experience with the Olympics, they sought out experts who did. New Yorker Donna DeVerona, broadcaster and 1964 Olympic swimming phenomenon, says Kriegel was a perfect captain for the New York bid team.

    “Jay epitomized everything New York--that was his strength in amassing support in the New York community for the 2012 New York bid to host the games and that was his challenge in working with the international sporting community,” DeVarona tells Around the Rings.

    “He was truly one of a kind and I am grateful he appreciated me and the athletes he invited into the bid campaign. Jay also understood that the bid for the Olympics helped continue to bring the New York community together after the tragedy of 9/11. The city has been remade since that day in large part to Jay's efforts to help launch the New York bid. I am extremely grateful to have worked with him and send my prayers and appreciation to his
    Kriegel with Charlie Battle and then USOC chair Peter Ueberroth in 2005. (ATR)
    friends and family,” she says.

    Charlie Battle, who is legendary for his work on behalf of the Atlanta bid for 1996, and then went on to serve as a vice president of the organizing committee, helped lead international lobbying for the bid.

    “He was one of a kind. He was a free spirit, a creative mind, a tireless and indefatigable worker, the consummate ambassador for his beloved City of New York and, most important, a loyal and devoted friend,” Battle tells ATR.

    Born in Brooklyn in 1940, his parents were both from Eastern Europe. He got his first taste of politics working as a volunteer in the 1952 campaign of Adlai Stevenson for U.S. president

    Kriegel went to work in Manhattan after Harvard Law School. He began his career as a 25-year-old whiz kid for Mayor John Lindsay in the 1960s, serving as Chief of Staff. Following that he became involved in a range of organizations, businesses and causes that made him an important behind the scenes influencer in New York City.

    In the 1970s he founded the magazine The American Lawyer. He did a stint as a vice president for CBS.
    Jay Kriegel poses with the Hudson Yards in the background in 2003. (ATR)

    Despite the earnest campaigning of Kriegel and his colleagues, the New York City 2012 bid fell way short at the IOC session in 2005. One of five cities seeking 2012, New York was eliminated in the second round of voting. London was the eventual winner.

    After the unsuccessful bid, Kriegel was quickly back at work in New York City on other projects. He was an advisor for the company that developed the Hudson Yards on the lower west side of Manhattan. That development on the Hudson River was to be one of the legacies of a New York City Olympics. The project was one of the favorites he liked to tout to reporters and IOC members. Kriegel helped make it happen regardless.

    Kriegel is survived by his wife Kathryn McAuliffe, a sister,  two children, three stepchildren, four great-grandchildren and three step great-grandchildren.

    Reported by Ed Hula. For general comments or questions, click here.
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