9 January 2004
LEIPZIG – A blessing and signature from visiting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has all but completed the first official phase of Leipzig’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics.
Schroeder praised local organisers and their Games scheme and then signed a letter accompanying a completed questionnaire which all applicants must return to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by 15 January.
Accompanied by Interior Minister Otto Schily, Schroeder was informed about the aspects of Leipzig’s bid and the IOC questionnaire by German Olympic Committee chief Klaus Steinbach, bid chief Peter Zuehlsdorff and Leipzig mayor Wolfgang Tiefensee.
“If you take a look at the questionnaire you will see that Leipzig provided answers that will bring it a step forward in its competition with the other bid cities,” Schroeder said.
“A first class effort has been made. There can be no better place (to stage the Games) as far as the enthusiasm of the people is concerned,” he said.
Schroeder especially praised Leipzig’s scheme to stage 97 percent of Olympic events within 10 kilometres of the city centre.
“This makes Leipzig’s bid unique. It is one of the reasons why I believe in Leipzig,” Schroeder said.
Zuehlsdorff admitted that that Leipzig’s bid had some weak points like all other bidders. But Steinbach said that Leipzig had found “very good solutions” for every aspect of the questionnaire.
The full details of the questionnaire can by IOC rules not be made public until 15 January.
But the compact Games scheme is already known as well as Leipzig’s effort to provide enough accommodation with the help of nearby Dresden as well as Berlin which by a new rail-link in 2006 will be a one-hour ride away.
Schroeder’s visit and the full governmental support will further boost the morale of Leipzig organizers, who seem to have fully overcome their personnel problems from late last year.
A summit of all parties involved in the bid is scheduled for next week in Berlin.
The 2012 host city is elected in July 2005 by the IOC.
Leipzig’s rivals are New York, Moscow, Madrid, Paris, London, Istanbul, Havana and Rio de Janeiro.
Based on the questionnaire, the IOC executive board has the right to narrow down the number of cities by the middle of May. But IOC President, Jacques Rogge, has hinted that all nine cites may become official Olympic candidates.
Subject: German news