Jacques Rogge, IOC President

International Olympic Committee
Château de Vidy
1007 Lausanne
Tel: +41 21 621 61 11
Fax: +41 21 621 62 16
Internet: www.olympics.org

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This archived article was published 27 February 2005
Controversy over planned stadium
dominated IOC inspection of NYC

By Barbara Schoetzau, VoA

Members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) wrapped up their four-day visit evaluating New York's bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics on 25 February 2005. The committee found itself in the middle of the most polarizing issue in the city at the moment, a proposal to build an Olympic-size stadium on Manhattan's West Side.

How London the 2012 Olympics

The 13 IOC delegates spent four days touring venues around the five counties that make up New York City. They looked at venues for gymnastics and an aquatic center in Brooklyn, soccer and volleyball at a sports complex across the Hudson River in New Jersey and cycling, softball and equestrienne venues on Staten Island. They were hosted by officials eager to win the nod for the Games and entertained by New York performing artists.

Security and financing concerns also were on the agenda of the IOC committee. Security costs for last year's Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, soared past the one billion dollar mark. New York State Governor George Pataki said the delegates had a lot of questions about security.

"Will this be designated a national security event, and we are confident that it will, do the state and the city have the authority to go forward with the financial guarantees and other steps that have already been taken? And the answer to that is that we do and we will," he said.

President Bush sent a videotaped message to the delegates assuring them that the federal government would help defray security costs.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city has an edge over some competitors because he was able to tell the delegates that New York would be able to avoid costly labor cost overruns for new building projects for the Olympics. "They also talked about making sure that government, the private sector and unions worked together. We discussed the no-strike pledge, which is a unique document, ten-year pledge from the construction industries," he said.

The head of the U.S. Olympic Host Committee, Peter Ueberroth, said the New York effort impressed the committee. "New York is energized by this entire effort. It has come together, the people of New York," he said. "The commission as they evaluate this they can feel the citizenry. They can feel the acceptance. Totally unified."

But public opinion polls show that one-third of New Yorkers do not support the city's Olympic bid. And two-thirds oppose plans to build an Olympic stadium at an abandoned railroad yard in Manhattan. The Jets football team was planning to buy the site to build a stadium, which could be used in 2012 for Olympic events. But several other business groups have now offered more money for the site and increasingly active community groups say the stadium would create too much traffic.

Further complicating the issue is the fact that Mayor Bloomberg, who has spearheaded both the Olympic effort and the stadium, is up for re-election in November. His potential rivals have seized on the stadium proposal as a major way to unseat the mayor.

In his state of the city address, during the Olympic Committee's visit, City Council President Gifford Miller proposed to rezone the site for housing and said he will introduce legislation requiring the mayor to get approval for the 300-million dollars he wants the city to spend on the stadium.

"When stadiums become a more important priority than schools, then the mayor is making the wrong choice," he said. "The bottom line is that I have fought and I will keep on fighting against the stadium so that my children and your children will not end up paying for this terrible mistake. Because this stadium won't help our city."

During the visit, IOC delegates also met with a local Brooklyn group that opposes some of the venues proposed for Brooklyn, including plans to build a basketball arena.

New York is one of five finalists for the 2012 Games. The IOC evaluation team has already visited London and Madrid and will visit Moscow and Paris. The winning city will be announced 6 July 2005.

The results for World Mayor 2010 were announced on 7 December 2010

World Mayor

The City Mayors Foundation, the international think tank on urban affairs, organises the World Mayor Project and awards the World Mayor Prize. The Prize, which has been given since 2004, honours mayors with the vision, passion and skills to make their cities incredible places to live in, work in and visit. The World Mayor Project aims to show what outstanding mayors can achieve and raise their profiles nationally and internationally. Mayors wishing to be considered for the Prize are asked to sign up to the City Mayors Code of Ethics.

The organisers of the World Mayor Project are looking for city leaders who excel in qualities like: leadership and vision, management abilities and integrity, social and economic awareness, ability to provide security and to protect the environment as well as the will and ability to foster good relations between communities from different cultural, racial and social backgrounds. Winners receive the World Mayor Prize, while the first and second runners-up receive the World Mayor Commendation.

Winners and runners-up
2004 to 2010:

In 2004: Winner: Edi Rama (Tirana); Runner-up: Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Mexico City}; In third place - Walter Veltroni (Rome)
In 2005: Winner – Dora Bakoyannis (Athens); Runner-up - Hazel McCallion (Mississauga); In third place - Alvaro Arzú (Guatemala City)
In 2006: Winner – John So (Melbourne); Runner up – Job Cohen (Amsterdam); In third place - Stephen Reed (Harrisburg)
In 2008: Winner – Helen Zille (Cape Town); Runner up - Elmar Ledergerber (Zurich); In third place - Leopoldo López (Chacao)
In 2010: Winner - Marcelo Ebrard (Mexico City); First runner-up - Mick Cornett (Oklahoma City); Second runner-up - Domenico Lucano (Riace) More