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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 February 2005, 23:38 GMT
The mood in New York
The Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadow
The International Olympic Committee recently visited New York as its assessment of the five cities battling to hold the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics continued.

Filip Bondy, sports columnist with the New York Daily News, sums up the mood in the Big Apple.


What is the feeling in New York about the city's chances of winning the bid?

Compared to other cities, New York is particularly indifferent to the Olympic bid, possibly believing that they are outsiders in the race.

That indifference has been reflected in the media coverage, even this week.

New York is a big baseball city and with spring training on at the moment, the back pages of the newspapers are full of baseball stories and not stories about the inspection.

Television coverage has also been minimal right across the board.

Do people in New York back the bid?

Given the indifference, it is quite hard to know whether people are actually backing the bid or not and the polls are not proving conclusive either way.

The only real referendum among New Yorkers will probably be when Mayor Bloomberg goes up for re-election in November but, by then, the decision on the 2012 host will already be made.

There was a rally on Monday at the Rockefeller Center and when I went down, most of the people there were tourists, including some from other parts of America, but not many were New Yorkers.

I think that outside New York there is even more indifference to the bid and only a small number of people know much, if anything, about it.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of New York's bid?

New York is a great city with wonderful energy and with the number of immigrants living in the city, every country competing at the Olympics will have backing.

The support from Mayor Bloomberg and his administration is also a big plus for the bid.

But one of the biggest weaknesses is the controversy surrounding the proposed Olympic Stadium on the west side of Manhattan.

The bid team are also showing a certain amount of inflexibility by saying we need this stadium, rather than just any stadium.

Do you think the problems surrounding the stadium and US foreign policy will damage New York's chances?

I think the stadium issues could be a big factor but I don't think the foreign policy will have a big impact on the voting process.

I think when it comes down to it, IOC voters vote selfishly and are more likely to focus on how they and their athletes can benefit from the decision.

But there are a lot of people wondering whether we should spend money on a stadium which runs the risk of being a white elephant.

An American football team will only have eight home games a year and there is a fear it could end up being a money pit.

Are you impressed with New York's bid leader Dan Doctoroff? What's his profile in the city?

Many New Yorkers would not know Dan Doctoroff but anyone who has any sort of dealings with political administration in the city know he is a powerbroker.

He is single-minded, which can sometimes be taken as arrogance, but he is a very organised and smart guy and, importantly, is close to the Mayor.

However, people sometimes wonder whether it is is just the new stadium on the west side he wants or whether he really wants the Olympics.

But he has also said that if New York does not get 2012, he will not be part of any potential 2016 bid, although we shall have to wait and see about that one.

What key messages do you think he is trying to get across to the IOC inspectors?

For a start there are the obvious strengths of the bid like the venues and the transport plans and the support from the administrators.

Doctoroff is also very confident about the stadium and is vowing that it will be done.

Another key message is that New York is a city where anyone can feel at home.

With more than 200 languages spoken it is a city of energy, a city that everyone is familiar with and New York will be hoping that it can cause a surprise when it comes to the voting.



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