NYC2012, the committee leading New York’s Bid to host the Olympic Games in 2012, announced today that it’s Circle of Olympians and Paralympians has surpassed 1,600 members. The Circle consists of Olympic and Paralympic athletes from all 50 states and 38 countries who support and are actively involved in New York’s Bid, giving them a prominent voice in all aspects of the plan.

‘The unparalleled knowledge and experience that these athletes provide is essential to our hopes of bringing the Olympic Games to New York in 2012,’ said Daniel L. Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding and NYC2012 Founder. ‘We have embarked on a critical stage in the bid process and their expertise will be invaluable in ensuring that all the needs of the Olympians are met in our plan.’

The Olympians and Paralympians in the Circle support New York’s bid in a variety of ways. Just recently, Venus Williams (Tennis: 2000, 2 Gold, 2004) designed an apartment adjacent to the site of the proposed Olympic Village in 2012’s Bid plan in Queens West. Athletes returning from the Games in Athens, as well as those who have competed in previous Games, will have the opportunity to stay at the apartment and experience the excitement of the Olympic Village site on the waterfront across from the United Nations in the center of the City.

Among the newest additions to the Circle are Cael Sanderson (Wrestling: 2004), the all-time NCAA record holder in Division 1 Wrestling with a career record of 159-0; Volleyball legend Karch Kiraly (Volleyball: 1984, Gold, 1988, Gold, Beach Volleyball: 1996, Gold); Sada Jacobson (Fencing: 2004), who is only the second U.S. fencer ever to be ranked #1 in the world; Loretta Harrop (Triathlon: 2000, 2004), 2004 New York City Triathlon Women’s Champion, from Australia and Valentia Vezzali (Fencing: 1996 Gold, Silver, 2000, 2 Gold, 2004) of Italy, who are members of NYC2012’s Circle of
International Olympians; and William Stewart (Skiing: 1994, 1998, 2002 Silver), a Paralympian member of the Circle. Jacobson, Harrop and Vezzali are competing in Athens.

Olympians have been involved with the bid from the start and serve on all advisory committees, including the Youth Sports and Education, Facilities, Environmental, Paralympic Games and Executive Committees, as well as on NYC2012’s Board.
Another example of athlete involvement is through the Olympians in the Schools Program, a five year old program where Olympians and Paralympians visit New York City schools and speak about how they made their own Olympic dreams come true and inspire thousands of school children to live the Olympic ideals.

‘The Olympic Games, first and foremost, are about the athletes,’ said Wendy Hilliard, Director of Sports at NYC2012, ‘and their participation adds the most important perspective in planning for an Olympic Games.’

Last May, the Santa Monica-based architectural firm Morphosis was selected to design the proposed Olympic Village, located across the East River from the United Nations at the heart of the Bid’s Olympic X plan, placing athletes at the center of the Games in close proximity to all Olympic venues.

New York is competing against four other cities for the right to host the Olympic Games in 2012: London, Madrid, Moscow, and Paris. The IOC will name the Host City for the 2012 Games on July 6, 2005 in Singapore.

For further information contact NYC2012 on (212) 953-2012