Rice & Bloomberg Presser On NYC Olympic Bid
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Mayor of the City of New York Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Dan Doctoroff, Mr. Roland Betts and Mr. Oscar de la Renta, on New York City's Proposal to Host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
New York City, NY
June 28, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Well, good morning. It is my honor and my pleasure to welcome the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to New York City. Welcome. We are thrilled to have you here and we want you to come here a lot. And we have (inaudible) for the rest of the delegation. Everybody that's important in 2012 is standing right with me. And we've just met to discuss this city's exciting bid. We think that we have a wonderful bid and we are really looking forward to going to Singapore.
We're enormously grateful that somebody of Secretary Rice's stature, someone who is recognized around the world as representing the United States and the great parts of the United States has come here today for the sole purpose of meeting with us and attending our Olympic Rally, which we'll be holding in City Hall Park in a short period of time. And I would urge all of you to come outside, the weather is cooperating and it's going to be a wonderful rally.
In fact, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first time in modern memory that a sitting Secretary of State has visited City Hall. Having the nation's top diplomat come to the World's Second Home, which is also the headquarters of the United Nations we think sends a powerful message around the globe that our bid to host the Olympics has the full and whole-hearted support of the United States Government, so let me thank Secretary Rice for that very welcome show of support.
In many ways, the Secretary's personal story reads like that of an Olympic champion. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama during the era of segregation. She has dedicated her life to a world based on equality and cooperation and freedom; she's everything that the Olympic movement stands for.
From a young age she has shown an incredible drive and relentless determination which has led her to become the first African-American woman to become our nation's Secretary of State. She is well-known for being an enthusiastic sports fan; I can tell you that our conversation next door was partly about the bid, a tiny bit about the world, mostly about sports. She is a tennis player who I've been trying to encourage to become a golfer and I don't know that I'm telling any secrets out of school, she has been taking some golf lessons, probably your fellow tennis players won't be happy to hear that, but we would love to have you come and we have 13 municipal golf courses that you're welcome to come and use.
It is my honor now to introduce and turn the floor over to the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. (Applause.)
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much, Mayor Bloomberg, and thank you to all of the members of the delegation and to the 2012 Committee. I'm delighted to be here and to have a chance to show the support of the President and all of us in the government for this remarkable city and its bid to hold the Olympic Games.
The Olympic Games, of course, are the purest expression of human excellence; an excellence that knows no race, no gender, and really no nationality. And the Olympic Creed of "Swifter, and Higher, and Stronger" summons all people equally. We also all have our Olympic memories. I was actually as a teenager a figure skater. Now this may be a fact that has escaped you because I was actually terrible at it, but who didn't want to be Peggy Fleming after Grenoble in 1968, and each and every one of us has that Olympic memory because the Olympics summons the best in us. It summons the highest calling to be excellent at what you do. We know that these are people who have worked and worked hard for what they have achieved.
Now, likewise, this city is emblematic of that because people from all over the world, from all ethnic backgrounds and nationalities have come to New York over the centuries and worked hard to achieve what they have achieved. And in that way this city is the perfect place to host an Olympic Games. If you walk along the streets of New York you will see the faces and hear the accents of the entire world. And when the Olympic Committee looks at New York it will see in microcosm what the Olympics speaks to, and that is the common humanity of all people from whatever background and whatever nationality. All of America looks to this city as a symbol of national unity and we look forward, Mayor Bloomberg, to being here for the 2012 Games.
To express his full support, President Bush has appointed one of his oldest and most trusted friends, not an old person, but an old friend, Roland Betts, to be his representative to New York's Olympic bid. Never before has an American President offered such personal support for our nation's Olympic Dreams. Tomorrow Roland leaves for Singapore to help bring the Olympic Games here.
The Olympics brings out the best in every athlete and in many ways it brings out the best in every nation and it certainly brings out our best hopes for what an international community could be; one based on shared excellence, one based on our shared goal of humanity. And so, I'm just delighted to be here to help kick off New York's Olympic bid and look forward to the rally. And Mayor Bloomberg, thank you very much for having me in this great city. (Applause.)
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Thank you, Madame Secretary. You've given our team a tremendous boost of confidence just days before we head off to Singapore to give our final bid presentation to the International Olympic Committee. Our only regret is that you can't join us in Singapore, but we do understand you have some other obligations and you certainly will not be sitting home playing tennis but working hard for this country and we wish you the best in all of your endeavors. However, we will certainly repeat the message that you just delivered to everybody.
These are very exciting times. Next Wednesday's presentation and subsequent decision on the Host City will mark the culmination of years of tremendous hard work and enterprise by an awful lot of people but particularly by one person -- one person who one day had a vision and rather than just sit around has devoted maybe 10 years of his life to doing something, trying to do something that would be just wonderful for this city and for America. He's conceived our City's Olympic dream when he was visiting a World Cup Soccer match more than a decade ago across the river at the Meadowlands. And since then, to say he's poured his heart into bringing the Games to New York is sort of the greatest understatement one could possibly have.
This is somebody who has worked tirelessly 7 days a week, 24 hours a day not just to bring the Olympics here but to make New York City a better place. When I was recruiting him, I said "Dan, the ways to get the Olympics here is to help New York City" and he has taken that message and done more than anybody knows. This city is immeasurably better because of the work of -- Dan Doctoroff. And I just pray we get the Olympics. It would be a wonderful culmination of all of his dreams and we're going to do everything we can.
DEPUTY MAYOR DOCTOROFF: Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor. Thank you for all of your support over these 3 ½ years and, in fact, for a long time before that as an NYC 2012 Board Member. Thank you very much, Dr. Rice, for being here. As the mayor said, it really does send us off with a great boost of confidence.
Oscar de la Renta, who's designed our uniforms, will speak in just a minute. Really, your contribution and the contribution of the people who made them is really extraordinary. This room is filled with people from the NYC 2012 team who for so many years have been so dedicated, so creative, have overcome every possible obstacle. They are led by my really dear friend Jay Kriegel who every day is the one who motivates the staff, who solves the problems, who is just the single best friend anybody could ever have.
I also want to thank Roland Betts. The President could not have picked a greater representative than Roland Betts, who in many ways has inspired me with what he did at Chelsea Piers which has changed an entire part of the city, through smart investment and commitment to this city and the commitment that he's shown in so many other ways is just extraordinary. We're going off to Singapore, many of us, tomorrow night, leaving on an 11:00 o'clock flight to Singapore. It's the world's longest direct flight.
We're going with a delegation of Olympians, I think, 38 of them all together that include sort of the legend Bob Beamon. Now for me that's particularly significant because I was 10 years old in 1968 when Bob Beamon shattered by more than two feet the world long jump record, so that -- Bob's doing that is my first Olympic memory. I obviously didn't have the athletic ability to be an Olympic Champion, so my Olympic dream came a different way. And it has fused with a true love for New York City which I know so many in this room share.
So as we go off tomorrow there are so many people to thank, but we go off with, I think, an incredible sense of optimism. You know, a few weeks ago people completely counted us out, totally out. We were going to drop out and that was going to be the end of it. Our staff, our Mayor, our team in City Hall, so many New Yorkers said, "There is absolutely no way we will ever do that. That is not the New York way. We are not quitters, we never have been, we never will be."
And what we've seen over these past three months -- three weeks is an incredible resurgence of our bid where as we go off to Singapore this is anybody's game and we have a great chance to win. I think everybody is going to be very, very surprised by what happens in Singapore, so stay tuned. Thank you for your support and we really look forward to what happens on July 6th. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I think as Dan said, any ambitious endeavor and like our Olympic aspirations, always has its moments of adversity but we have a spirit in this city and in this country and we've never wavered. This is a spirit that is shared by millions of passionate New Yorkers who have voiced their excitement, including the thousands who volunteered at our rallies, our Olympic torch relay and other events.
Hundreds of ethnic community groups in our city have joined our Nations of New York program and are galvanizing the support of the communities they represent. Our supporters also include thousands of athletes who comprise our circle of Olympians and Paralympians and thousands of organizations and businesses that have donated their time, talent and money to make our bid as strong as it can be and that includes New Yorkers, like Oscar de la Renta along with ETC Kellwood Company and Oxford Industries, who have generously designed the uniforms that the NYC 2012 delegation will be wearing in Singapore. I have never worn Oscar de la Renta before in my life. Oscar, I'm sorry to admit that but, quite honestly, I could never afford it. (Laughter.) But now I can, thanks to ETC Kellwood and Oxford Industries and your generosity. Do you want to say a few words?
MR. DE LA RENTA: Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg, Secretary Rice. I have lived in some of the cities that are competing for the Olympics and I have to tell you that I don't think that there is any place in history today like New York City and how much we deserve to have the Olympics in this city because this is the city of dreams.
I came to this city as an immigrant and I know that only in a city like New York, in a country like the United States, dreams can be fulfilled. For me, it's a great, great privilege to cooperate in a very, very small way. I'm sure we're going to get the Olympics, but New York is the greatest place where one can be. It's a place no city has the energy and is a place (inaudible) American dream and I hope that we're going to get the Olympics because it's going to be great for the city.
Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg. (Applause.)
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Oscar, thank you. And the result of his handiwork is being worn by Tania Paessler and Bob Beamon, so you can see two models, both the same height. (Laughter.) We'll be happy to take a question or two about the bid. I think we want to focus on this subject.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary the Prime Minister of Spain (inaudible), Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Vladimir Putin are all going to Singapore. Is there a problem with the New York bid is the President (inaudible) admit that Administration officials are going, even in a (inaudible) way?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the President will, first of all, be with the delegation by video and is looking very much forward. You know what a sports fan he is. He's looking forward to having a chance to add his voice to this. My understanding is an American President has actually never gone to this session and so it's not unusual, but he is sending somebody who I can tell you is among his very, very closest friends. It is -- Roland and Lois Betts are about as close to the President as you can get. They're family and I think he wants to send them for that reason. He also was very insistent that I make the trip up here -- he didn't have to work that hard -- but that I make the trip here because he wants everyone to know that this is going to be a terrific bid and New York has put together a very fine bid and I know that that's what the IOC will be interested in, but he will be there by video.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: In our last bids, President Clinton didn't go and President Bush, Sr. didn't go. It just presents such a logistical nightmare, but the President is a big part of our bid via video and it's in the middle.
QUESTION: Secretary Rice, (inaudible) right now, what do you think are the chances that we will actually win?
SECRETARY RICE: I think the chances are very good because I've been impressed with the way that this city has dealt with all of the questions that have come about the bid, about the importance of being able to get this bid pulled together. This is a comeback city and New Yorkers have always been known for their unwillingness to say die, for their unwillingness to give up and they have demonstrated yet again that they've put together a terrific bid. And when it comes down to it, what better city? I'm sure that the facilities will be first rate because everything New York does is first rate and this city really does represent the best of America and the best of the world in the way that people come here and achieve from all over the world so I believe it's got a very, very good chance.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Sir.
QUESTION: This is for Secretary Rice, (inaudible) and do you have contact with the IOC will be working (inaudible?)
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I've certainly made very clear -- I think all of you will now make clear -- where I think the Olympics should be. And obviously, people are talking to various countries about the importance of this bid but there should be an absolutely clear message that we think this is the greatest place to have the Olympics and I'm just really proud to be a part of the ceremony.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Sir.
QUESTION: Yes. Secretary, is the reason that the President could not go because the low popularity he has --
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: No, no. I just said it would be -- I just answered that question. It would be a logistical nightmare and Presidents traditionally have not gone. President Bush is well-loved around the world by some people and probably not by everybody. That is true of the heads of every single government, just an occupational hazard. You can't please everybody.
Sir. I just answered it. Sir. Yes.
QUESTION: I have a question is actually to Doctoroff. Everything we read and see says that Paris has the inside track. You just said a moment ago, you'd be surprised, is there something that you know that we don't know?
DEPUTY MAYOR DOCTOROFF: Yeah. Actually the truth is I think there is because I have had the great fortune to spend a tremendous amount of time with 115 people that make the decision and I think there is a real recognition among those voters that New York really does offer something different. We offer a different kind of city. We all know all five cities can host a very good games, but what we offer is a different kind of athlete experience. We offer great opportunity for sports to grow, particularly in a market like the United States where many of them are underdeveloped.
But most importantly, I think we offer an incredible message for the Olympic movement because in many ways we are, as Dr. Rice said, as the Mayor said, the city that really sort of lives the Olympic dream every day. And the Olympic movement looks to send a message when they pick a host city. So you know I've never been overly concerned about, sort of odds, or about what conventional wisdom says. Most often, conventional wisdom is wrong; in fact, in seven of the last nine bidding competitions, it has been wrong. And because what happens when they get into the room in a secret ballot is often very, very, very unpredictable. I'm not guaranteeing victory. What I'm telling you is we've got a lot of momentum. There is great enthusiasm among the members because of what we offer and really most importantly what New York represents to the world.
QUESTION: I have a question for the Secretary. Given that (inaudible.)
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I can't underscore more, more fully that it would, first of all, Presidents of the United States have not traditionally gone to this ceremony -- have not gone to the ceremony, but the President will be there by video. I'm here to give a sendoff to this delegation and the United States of America is fourscore behind this -- foursquare behind this bid. We will make the Olympics a national, special -- national special security event which means that the United States would take responsibility for a lot of the security. I think you will find that the President, in sending Roland Betts and asking me to come here and support this, is among the strongest possible supporters of the 2012 bid and that will be evident to the people in Singapore.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: And as I've said before, he plays a major part in our presentation. He just doing it via video for practical reasons.
QUESTION: Sir, to (inaudible) if I may, America's foreign policy has been criticized in many Western nations in the (inaudible). Some might suggest that (inaudible) hurt our chances of getting (inaudible). What's your response?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, first, I believe that the IOC will make this decision on the basis of the bid. And they will look to put on the very best Olympics, they will look to a city that can do that. New York can do that. They will look to a city that wants to welcome the world in the way that New York will and I believe that's really the determining factor. It's also the case that not everything that we've done has been popular.
But if you just look at the number of people who still want to come to this country -- whether they just want to come to visit or whether they want to come to go to school here or whether they want to come here to live here -- look at the number of people who still want to emigrate to this country. I want to tell you that America and Americans are well-respected and well-loved around the world because they know that this is a country, as Oscar said, where you can come to achieve your dreams. And if there is any message in the Olympics, it is that it doesn't matter where you come from, you can achieve your dreams if you work hard and if you're tough and if you are persistent. And that's what this city represents and I think that's going to have a very powerful resonance with the Olympic Committee.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Let me add that not once have I had -- talked to an Olympic IOC member, who is going to vote, that thought that -- or even raised the issue when we've discussed other things. There is an admiration for America. Every country has dissenters within the country. I think that one of the secretaries -- a point I hadn't thought about -- we had 40 million visitors to New York City last year, a record. This year we're running higher. When people vote with their feet, and that's probably as good of ways to tell whether people have a respect and want to come here, that's what they do. They come here.
The Olympic delegation, the 115 people who will vote and remember there's less in the first round because of the way the voting works, they will vote for what's best for the Olympic movement, they will vote for what's best for their sport they'll vote what's best for their country. And there's no city out of the five that represents the ideals of the Olympic movement better than New York.
We have our own Olympic Village here everyday, all day long. We have a meritocracy here where people compete and cooperate at the same time. That's the essence of great sport. We have an objective of bringing peace to the world here; this is the home of the United Nations, this is the home of a country that's come to the defense of democracy around the world. And I think that, on balance, it probably is not a big factor one way or another. If anything it's a positive, this country's reputation.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you said that America and Americans around the world, well (inaudible) Sunday in Iran who has made (inaudible) good relations with the United States. Are you concerned about (inaudible?)
SECRETARY RICE: Look, we'll see what happens with the Iranian Government. I think we've made very clear our views of that election. I think what I said was that Americans and America are respected around the world and that people come here in droves whenever they get the chance.
Now, I was a university professor at Standard University and when I used to look out at my class, I had people from literally every corner of the globe who had come to Stanford University to study. I had people whose parents had come to this country because they wanted to immigrate here because they thought they were going to have a better future for their children in America and that's what New York is about. And so I think that this going to be a very powerful symbol of how much people respect and really, in many ways, want to pursue the American dream.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Let me add something. For the record, when you're writing your story, Iran does not have a vote. Okay? I mean that's, in the end, you are talking about specific people who have interests in the Olympic movement as well as their country, as well their sport. Roland, do you want to add something here?
MR. BETTS: Sure. A number of questions are about the President's interest in the bid and interest in the Olympics. There is no bigger fan than President Bush. I served on the United States Olympic Committee for eight years and we ran a competition among eight domestic cities and the President followed it round by round by round. He's followed the saga with our West Side Stadium and our new stadium. He's watched us get knocked down and get back up and he is extremely enthusiastic about our efforts.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: We'll take two more questions.
QUESTION: Roland, (inaudible) actually doing in (inaudible?)
MR. BETTS: The President has appointed me to New York City's 2012 board as his representative. That's never happened before the bid. That's usually happened after and I'll do whatever I can. I'm going over early with Dan and Jay and others to, you know, carry the mail. And don't forget, somebody asked Dan if he knew something that we didn't know. Don't forget, there are presentations by each of the five cities on the exact day that the vote takes place. And in the New York City presentation in Colorado Springs, against San Francisco was absolutely unbelievably fantastic and had a huge influence on the vote itself. That can happen also in Singapore. Salzburg was the favorite two years ago and didn't survive the first round so, hang on.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Yeah, and let me tell you what happens when you go to one of these meetings. There are some official functions and there are the five presentations on the day of the vote. But most of the time, you try to buttonhole one of the 115-odd delegates and talk to them. Some speak English; some don't. They don't tend to talk about the things that you ask questions about, they tend to talk about how would you provide security, how would the transportation work, how far away is it from the Olympic Village to their particular sport's venue, what do you do with the venue afterwards because part of the Olympic movement is that you should have things that are useful for the city after the fact and that's one of the determinants.
When the site selection committee raised certain issues, which they do about every city, how have you gone about addressing those? What would happen if the world is different? And those are the kinds of things that you talk about and then you get to the actual vote and it's a secret ballot, so nobody really knows why anybody votes for anything. But we have as good a chance as anybody else. And if you really look at it, I think New York, literally, is the best place for the Olympic movement, and for the individual sports, and to encourage a cooperation and an understanding of each other which is part of the Olympic movement. We all have an obligation to make sure we have the world together.
I'll take two more questions. You had one, sir.
QUESTION: Dr. Rice, when you travel around the world, part of the problem or the perceived problems (inaudible) is that the city isn't as excited about it as, say, others (inaudible) as you travel around, did you compare some of those other cities with our city or our country as a whole, as far as the excitement about the Olympics?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I know that, first of all, these are all big cities and big cities are -these are not villages, any of them. But I will tell you that in talking to the folks here, I know that there's great excitement in this city and I know that New Yorkers will always be excited about the opportunity to show the world what New York is all about. And so, I would be very surprised if you would find in any of these other very big cities more excitement, more enthusiasm for the chance to bring the world here. And I'll just make one other point. Of course, because there are people in this city who come from so many different places in the world I think you'll also find that there are links to the rest of the world that don't exist in other big cities.
QUESTION: Well, you (inaudible?)
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: Sir, we're going to take the last question from somebody back there. Let me just also add that in all these other cities, you've seen protests against the Olympics. That's just a fact of life. You're never going to get everybody onboard for anything. But I don't think anybody that really has looked at it doesn't think that this would be a wonderful thing for New York City, for the spirit of America, for the spirit of New York City and for the legacy of what it would leave behind in terms of housing and athletic facilities and parks and all of the things that we would do mostly with private money and it would be a great legacy.
Last question. Yes, sir.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, do you ever consider asking former President Bush or President Clinton (inaudible?)
SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, the Mayor and the members of the delegation here have put together the delegation. I think we have a fine delegation and I'm here as a sendoff. But I think the President believed he ought to have a close personal friend who's been involved in this from the very beginning. You have athletes who after all represent the Olympic ideal and this delegation is going to carry a very fine bid. I think everybody understands how much Americans want to see New York win this bid and I look forward to what's happening in Singapore.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I'm way ahead of you. Dan wanted to remind me, but in all fairness I did think of it as well. We want to go and win and we need a heavyweight to go with us and I can't think of a more beloved heavyweight in the whole world than somebody who is going to be joining us: Mohammed Ali. Anybody that wants to take him on is welcome to.
Thank you very much. We'll see you at the rally. (Applause)
Released on June 28, 2005