July 5, 2005

Hillary Clinton shifts New York bid up a gear

By John Chalmers

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - New York wheeled out U.S. SenatorHillary Clinton as the race to host the 2012 Olympics enteredthe final straight on Tuesday, counting on the famous formerfirst lady to make a strong case for the Big Apple.

"This is a great bid from a great city for the greatestinternational event there is," Clinton told a news conferenceacross the road from the Raffles City Convention Center whereInternational Olympic Committee delegates will vote onWednesday.

The wife of former U.S. President Bill Clinton landed inSingapore early on Tuesday but was whisked away from herbreakfast -- even before she could take a bite -- to meet anIOC delegate.

"That's what she's here for, no apologies," said New YorkCity Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who described Clinton as asaleswoman for his city against rival bids from London, Madrid,Moscow and Paris to host the 2012 Summer Games.

Although bookmakers make Paris and London favorites to winthe most votes to be taken by around 100 IOC delegates, thebiggest U.S. city insists it is still an open race -- and oneit can win.


"We believe that we are making progress and we have a lotof momentum," said the 57-year-old New York senator, who wassmartly dressed in a navy suit and showing no signs of jet lag.

"New York City exemplifies Olympic values every singleday," she said. "Living in New York is like living in anOlympic village: every language from every corner of the globe,people who are striving every day to do their best."

She stood in front of a line of sporting celebrities whohave thrown their weight behind the New York bid, includingformer long jump world record holder Bob Beamon and Australianswimmer Ian Thorpe.

"As a young girl growing up, I just loved the Olympics andhad dreams like so many children do throughout the world thatsomeday they too, and I too, could be part of thisextraordinary effort," Clinton said. "Well, athletically, Icouldn't. But my heart has always been with the Olympicmovement."

She added it was remarkable that less than four years afterthe devastating aircraft attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 on NewYork's World Trade Center, the city could now stand up and bidfor the 2012 Olympics.

"We're telling you that New York City is the place to bringthe 2012 Olympics because the people of New York are resilient,they are extraordinary in their capacity to pull together andplan for the future," she said.