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Fla. 2012 Unveils Venue Site Plans

June 8, 2000

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ The committee leading Tampa’s regional bid to play host to the 2012 Olympic Games unveiled plans Wednesday for five competition venues in St. Petersburg, including gymnastics and basketball at Tropicana Field.

A temporary facility, with the capability of being converted into a permanent structure, also would be built on or near the scenic downtown waterfront for diving.

The announcement is the first of a series planned this summer as Florida 2012 lines up proposed sites for venues in Tampa, Lakeland and Orlando, in addition to St. Petersburg, which also will be the site for wrestling and the triathlon.

``It’s a vision ... but we’re ahead of the competition,″ St. Petersburg mayor David Fischer said. ``I think we have an excellent chance.″

Florida 2012 has raised nearly $10 million in its effort to become the U.S. candidate city to serve as host to the Games in 12 years. Other cities preparing bids include Cincinnati, Baltimore-Washington, D.C., New York, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The deadline to submit bids is Dec. 15. The U.S. candidate city will be selected in the fall of 2002, and the International Olympic Committee will pick the host city for the Games in the fall of 2005.

Tropicana Field, home of baseball’s Tampa Bay Devil Rays and site of the 1999 men’s NCAA Final Four, would be used for all of the artistic gymnastics competition. The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of men’s and women’s basketball also would be played there, with the facility configured to seat about 45,000.

The Bayfront Center is designated as the venue for wrestling. Several temporary structures would be built to accommodate athletes and spectators for the triathlon, and the 14,000-seat diving facility would be designed for conversion to a 4,000-seat, outdoor theater unless the city decides to make it a permanent sports facility.

``We have something that’s so unique,″ Bill Walker, a St. Petersburg attorney who’s also president of U.S. Diving, said of the scenic downtown waterfront area where the diving venue would be built.

In addition to being the site for five sports, St. Petersburg will be the starting point for what Florida 2012 president Ed Turanchik promised will be one of the most scenic courses ever for the Olympic Marathon, which will finish in Tampa.

Proposed venue sites for other Florida cities will be announced next month. Announcements regarding an aquatic center and Olympic Stadium will follow in August, while transportation and Olympic Village plans will be revealed in October.

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