Houston Official: 'We put man on the moon ... we WILL have a great Olympic Games'

Houston 2012 Foundation Submits Bid Supplement Upgrading Plans

For 2012 Olympic Games

HOUSTON, April 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Houston, the city that put man on the moon, today delivered its revised 2012 Olympic games bid proposal to the United States Olympic Committee today, emphasizing the centrality of the Paralympic Games and the strength of its existing venues.

The city's proposal, a comprehensive review of Houston's budget and plans should they be chosen the Host City for 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, was formed with practical insights from former and current Olympians and Paralympians, coaches, and officials. Houston's substantial experience in hosting major events and first-hand observations of the Atlanta, Sydney and Salt Lake City Olympic Games by the bid's leadership also figured prominently in designing the realistic-and historic-plan.

"Texas knows how to make dreams a reality: the world turned to us when it came time to put man on the moon. Houston now has the plan and the people to host the most dynamic and inclusive Olympic and Paralympic Games the world has ever seen," said Susan Bandy, President of the Houston 2012 Foundation.

Houston's supplements is highlighted by:

-- Houston's Financial Strength. Houston's conservative financial

proposal was developed to allow for a successful Games no matter the

state of the world's economy in 2012. Houston's budget conservatively

projected revenue from broadcast, sponsorship and ticket sales based

on historical trends, while planned operating costs have been

increased in anticipation of unforeseen needs. In the final analysis,

the revenues will not only cover the cost of the Games, but will

result in a US$219 million surplus. This makes the US$100 million the

state of Texas approved in 1999 virtually unnecessary and allows for

over US$219 million in investment in US and international sport.

Houston's budget is so low because the city has already invested

US$1.3 million to build a state-of-the-art sporting venue network. As

a result, the estimated capital expenditures for the 2012 Games-US$165

million-are significantly less than other US bid cities.

-- Paralympic Plans. Houston pledges an unrivaled experience for

Paralympians in 2012, thanks to the planning of the Houston 2012

Foundation Paralympic Committee. Houston has also benefited from the

expertise and insights of top disabled athletes serving on the

Foundation's board. They include, the greatest wheelchair athlete in

the world, Randy Snow; Vice Chairman of Wheelchair USA's Athlete

Advisory Committee, Deanna Vanhook; and two-time Paralympian fencer

Mario Rodriguez. Houston has a long and successful tradition of

hosting events for athletes with disabilities including the 1987

Wheelchair Games, numerous domestic and international wheelchair

basketball events, and the Quad Rugby US tryouts for the 2000 USA

Team, among other events. The Paralympians will use the same athletes'

village and competition venues as the Olympic athletes. Many of the

events, including the Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies, will

take place at Houston's Paralympic Park, providing a festive

"Sydney-type" experience for the Paralympians and spectators alike.

Creative ticket procedures will increase attendance and promote the

Paralympic Games to new fans (the Houston organizing committee will

create day-pass tickets to allow individuals to pay one small

admission fee to attend all events at the Paralympic Park). In

addition, Paralympic transportation costs are minimized because all of

the buses in Houston's mass transit system are already equipped for

wheelchair access.

-- Celebration City. Houston's strong financial plan will allow a unique

investment in the celebratory component of the Olympic experience:

"Celebration Corridor." Made up of the three celebration pods and

linked by Houston's light rail line, the Corridor will create venues

for Olympic-focused programming, celebrations, viewing of the

televised-events, concerts and cultural events. The Downtown pod will

be located in the recently revitalized Theatre District and will allow

for public viewing stations, pin trading and concerts. The second

celebration pod will bring cultural festivals to Houston's Museum

district where the city's renowned zoo and world famous museums are

located. The third will be in the main Olympic Park. Admission to

these celebration cells will be free of charge and each will be fully


-- Venue Plan. One of the Houston bid's key strengths is its

near-complete sporting venue network. This system is state-of-the-art

and built in compact pods to ensure easier transportation and

unmatched security arrangements for the Games. Houston has spent

US$1.3 billion on its athletic and convention facilities since 1997

ensuring that nearly all the required facilities will be ready for

competition, not by 2012 but by 2005, the year of the International

Olympic Committee's decision on the 2012 Host City allowing for

extensive testing-both theoretical and practical. Because of these

state-of-the-art facilities, a majority of events will be held in

climate-controlled, air-conditioned venues.

Like Sydney, Houston has proposed a true Olympic Park. A hub of

Olympic events, celebration and activity. The Park, built around the

Reliant Astrodome and Reliant Stadium will house 18 sport/site

combinations as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the

Olympic store, sponsor displays, food court and viewing stations. It

also includes the world famous amusement park Six Flags Astroworld,

only adding to the festive environment of the Games.

-- Security. Houston has performed extensive risk assessments and sent a

team of police and security officials to Salt Lake City to observe and

be briefed by the security team at the Olympic Games. The City of

Houston developed and led an unprecedented security pact with the

other bid cities that will allow for shared resources for the ultimate

US host city.

Houston's compact venue structure reflects security concerns as much

as convenience, and the bid incorporates "best practices" yielded by

having hosted many large sporting events, from the Super Bowl to the

NCAA Final Four to the world's largest rodeo, as well as high-security

meetings like the Republican National Convention and the G-7 summit.

Houston is working closely with federal and state agencies on security

arrangements for the 2004 Super Bowl and 2004 Major League Baseball

All-Star Game.

-- Olympic Family. Houston is committed above all to the Olympic Family

-- the athletes, the coaches, the officials, the family's of athletes,

the media and others that ensure the Olympic Games occur. In addition

to natural Texas charm and hospitality, the city has instituted

several programs to ensure the experience and successful performance

of these individuals at the 2012 Games, including generous ticket

policies for families of athletes, paid travel for Olympians,

Paralympians and team officials, and a state-of-the-art and

conveniently located media center, among other programs.

"Our revised proposal demonstrates how committed we are to bringing the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Houston," said Bandy. "Like everything in Texas, we will do it big, we will do it right and we will do it successfully."

Contact: John Gans: 212-445-8336