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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"The Russian tactics were incredible. At one party given by Queen Juliana, these two big burly Russians had this member of the IOC in a corner and every time the poor fellow would try to get away, they'd slam him back into the corner. Another IOC member from a Russian-bloc country—Czechoslovakia—said he'd really like to talk to the L.A. delegation, but he was terrified to do it at the party. So we all kind of sneaked out to a little restaurant and met him there. He sat way in the back of the room, with his back to the door, kind of slouched over the table and he raised his glass and toasted L.A. We raised ours and toasted Prague right back.
"Well, we knew we had some problems after we'd been in Amsterdam for two days. Drapeau was hanging around the elevators at the IOC hotel all the time and he'd buttonhole every delegate who came out, which was against the rules. The Russians had a few of those burly guys who never smiled standing at all four corners of the balcony over the lobby. They were making notes on who was talking to whom. I thought I was in a foreign spy movie.
"For our actual presentation, we had a booth, and we were told ours was the best. We also had half an hour to make the pitch to the IOC assembled. Our film ran 21 minutes. Yorty spoke for three minutes, Preston Hotchkis for three and I spoke for three and answered a few questions. We weren't allowed to watch the other countries' presentations, but I understand Russia's was about 40 years behind the times.
"We were criticized for our cash-flow analysis. Brundage called it 'high-dollar pressure.' But we really used a very low profile. I think we comported ourselves with dignity. Sure, it's hard to come on like a small, meek nation when you're the United States of America. But we geared our presentation to the fact that the Games would not be too big. We did not make any negative cracks. It was purely positive selling of L.A. We pointed out that TV would be live worldwide. That it would be prime time in Europe. And that this would be worth $40 million in revenue. We pointed out that when it comes to television, L.A. is the hub of the industry."
Kilroy sipped glumly at his second beer, then shrugged and spoke quickly as if the memory were too bitter to dwell upon. "Well, it came to the day of the vote. Queen Juliana opened the 69th Congress of the IOC. Then the social and cultural minister of Holland—Dr. Klompe—makes this swell speech welcoming everyone to Amsterdam and she says that she knows that all the IOC members know that the true spirit of the Olympics was shown 42 years ago when The Netherlands—a small country, she says—hosted the Games and she says it is her fond and fervent dream that the Olympics can be returned to the small countries!.
"Then Avery gets up and he says, 'Why, to my great surprise, Dr. Klompe, you have given my speech.' This, of course, is a lie because I was in Avery's office two days before and I saw Dr. Klompe's speech on his desk then. Anyway, Brundage launches into this talk, also, about returning the Olympics to the small countries. Then he did some bad-mouthing about the U.S.—anarchy in the streets, Cambodia, riots in the schools, that sort of thing. It was a terrible tragedy. Avery sold out the United States.
Then he shrugged. "Well, we had a power play going and it just didn't work for us, that's all. Our input was not great, our intelligence broke down. But it didn't work for Russia either. The truth is, the IOC ignored all the facts. It ignored the fact that Montreal doesn't have the dough. The IOC is forcing the Canadian government to take over the financial burden. It ignored all the facts."
For the record, the facts were that on the first ballot the vote was Moscow 28, Montreal 25 and Los Angeles 17. A majority of 36 was required. On the second ballot, only Moscow and Montreal were included and the Canadians won with 41 votes. The total cost of the Montreal Games is estimated at $500 million.