Sun, May 25, 2003 - Page 22 News List

Sao Paulo shows its plan to host the 2012 Olympics


Latin America's largest city finished presenting its plan Friday for hosting the 2012 Olympics with a pledge to spend billions of dollars to clean polluted rivers, build stadiums and expand its subway system.

Sao Paulo, Brazil's financial and industrial hub, is competing with Rio de Janeiro to become the country's pick as the official candidate for the games. No South American city has ever won an Olympic bid.

The list of confirmed candidates includes Moscow, New York, London, Paris, Madrid, Havana and Leipzig, Germany. Toronto could enter the race if Vancouver is not selected for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Brazilian Olympic Committee officials visited Sao Paulo this week and head to Rio next week. The committee is expected to pick between the two cities on July 7. Committee officials declined to comment Friday on their impressions of the Sao Paulo proposal.

Although Rio is a much more popular Brazilian destination for foreigners, Sao Paulo city officials think they have a good chance of becoming Brazil's 2012 candidate.

"Sao Paulo has the economic, technological and financial clout, and the biggest and best hotel and hospital network in Latin America," said Nadia Campeao, the city's top official dealing with sporting events. "We have what it takes to vie for the Olympic games with big cities anywhere in the world."

Sao Paulo would spend US$1.2 billion to build stadiums, an Olympic Village and other facilities, Campeao said. Another US$1.5 billion would be spent during the games. The city estimates it would get back US$1.8 billion from ticket sales, sponsorships and sales of TV rights. The city of 18 million already has plans to spend US$10 billion on infrastructure improvements to make Sao Paulo more attractive.

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