NEW YORK - For a city used to success, defeat was stinging. So dismayed were New York officials by the loss of their 2012 Olympic bid that they pointedly declined to commit themselves to another try for the Summer Games four years later.
“I’m terribly disappointed,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had promoted a New York Olympics as a climactic phase of the city’s rebound from the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Despite its long tradition of welcoming the world — and its cocky self-description as “Capital of the World” — New York had never even bid for an Olympics before, let alone hosted one. It failed to make history Wednesday, getting knocked out of the International Olympic Committee vote on the second round with only longshot Moscow exiting sooner.
The New York delegates said they were unsure why their bid failed — whether it was a mix of factors or some specific concern such as disputes over an Olympic stadium or a perception of lukewarm local support.
“It’s very difficult to analyze,” said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, one of the speakers during the presentation to the IOC. “I’m not going to be looking into the minds of anyone who cast a vote.”
Bloomberg said it was too soon to say whether the city would try again for 2016, when the Games could well return to the United States. By then, it will have been 20 years since the last North American Olympics, at Atlanta in 1996, and the games will have been held since then in Australia, Greece, China and Britain.
“We had everything going for us,” Bloomberg said. “It was a unique opportunity for New York. ... I don’t know what’s going to happen down the road.”
Addressing the IOC before the vote, Bloomberg said New York “needs these Games in 2012” and noted that crucial deals for public funding and land — including the proposed Olympic Village site in Queens — were valid only for this bid.
“We had a unique set of circumstances. I think this was our moment,” said Dan Doctoroff, New York’s deputy mayor and founder of the bid campaign back in 1994.
Peter Ueberroth, president of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said New York — despite its energetic campaign — would not gain any special status if it entered the race to be the U.S. candidate for 2016.
“We will have a new process for the next four years,” he said. “We’ll open it up.”
Several U.S. cities which were strong rivals to New York for the 2012 candidacy might try again, and Los Angeles — successful host of the 1984 Games — also could be a 2016 contender.
In New York, City Council member John Liu quickly urged the city to mount a new bid. But U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., said it’s hardly a matter of desperation.
“We don’t need reassurance from the International Olympic Committee or anyone else that New York is a world class city,” said Weiner. “We don’t need to put New York on the map. It’s already the center of the universe.”
“If they gave the award based on presentation, we would have won,” Bloomberg said.
London instead was the winner. Bloomberg wished the British capital well, but then expressed hope that U.S. athletes would win every single medal at the 2012 Games.
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