Andrew Young, the former mayor of Atlanta who helped lead that city's successful bid for the 1996 Summer Games, wasn't willing to predict that Salt Lake City will win the 1998 Winter Games.
"I think Salt Lake should know they have the best bid," Young, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said during an interview Friday. "That's an assurance the Games will come to Salt Lake."But not necessarily in 1998. Young said Utah's bid supporters should be prepared for the worst when the International Olympic Committee's decision is announced Saturday.
The reason? Atlanta. IOC members may not be willing to site an Olympics in North America so soon, he said. Especially because of the criticism they received last year for choosing Atlanta over Athens, Greece, a sentimental favorite.
"It's one of the handicaps we have for being a big country," Young said, noting that some of the European sites already selected for upcoming Games are as close to each other as Salt Lake City is to Reno, Nev.
If Salt Lake City doesn't get the Games Saturday, Young said, there are other possibilities. For example, if Lillehammer, Norway, doesn't have enough snow to host the 1994 Winter Games, Salt Lake might be asked to step in.
And there's always 2002 and beyond. The USOC has already committed to present Salt Lake City as its choice for the 2002 Winter Games, but Young said that promise should be extended for as long as it takes.
"As a member of the USOC, I will always fight to keep the bid in Salt Lake until the (Winter Games) come to Salt Lake," he said. "Salt Lake has made enough of an investment to deserve the full support of the USOC."
Does support mean money? Maybe. Young said Atlanta can't afford to help Salt Lake keep its bid effort going but the USOC might be able to offer some of its share of the revenues from the 1996 Summer Games.
Olympic Bid Committee on the black
The Salt Lake City Olympic Bid Committee is in the black.
Counting cash in hand and bankable pledges, the account is more than $200,000 in the black, said Kelly Flint, assistant general counsel to the Salt Lake Winter Olympics Organizing Committee.
"The bills have been paid or they will be. The money's in the bank account, but all the people who can sign the checks are in Birmingham," Flint said.
The committee exceeded its fund-raising goal by at least $20,000. It also has sold six memberships to the Deer Valley Club, which increased the total to $290,000.
Flint said he has not been apprised what the committee will do with the excess funds. "I don't know if all the decisions have been made on that," he said.
Officials said the total budget for the bid will total about $5.1 million, officials said. No public money was used for the bid.