Personal Finance
A well meaning bad idea
September 21, 2001: 3:40 p.m. ET

Rome's offer to let NY host '12 Olympics is noble, but not what city needs now
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Italian Olympic Committee members made a magnanimous gesture this week when they said they would drop Rome's bid to host the 2012 Olympics in favor of New York if other cities competing for the games would also defer to New York.

"We believe it would be right to honor New York after the tragedy in this way," Reuters quoted Italian IOC member Ottavia Cinquanta as saying.

But so far other U.S. cities seeking the right to host the games haven't dropped their bid. The U.S. Olympic Committee is set to pick a U.S. nominee for the games next month. And as touching as the gesture is, the Olympics may be the last thing the city needs at this point.

The proposed new park for the Mets is one of the sports facilities that New York should not be spending money on in the wake of the terrorist attack.
Recovering from the devastation in lower Manhattan will take many years, as the city, state and federal governments spend billions replacing transportation and other infrastructure and trying to recapture jobs that have been forced to relocate. An Olympic bid, with the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new structures and venues required, can only distract from such efforts.

And many New Yorkers who have seen their city pay a fierce price due to terrorism are probably far less eager to host a high-profile event that could bring another attack.

In a related question of public money on new sports facilities, New York was reportedly getting ready before the attack to announce new baseball stadiums for the Yankees and Mets, as well as a possible football stadium to attract the Jets back from New Jersey

While there have been no statements from busy city officials on those plans, it would seem that any chance there was of winning approval to spend more than $1 billion on new stadiums probably also ended in last week's attack.

That's actually good news to a majority of New Yorkers, who polls showed opposed spending tax dollars on the new stadiums even before the tragedy.

Capriati comeback complete

Tennis star Jennifer Capriati is reportedly about to complete a comeback never seen in the world of sports to rebound from a drug arrest earlier in her career to sign a big dollar endorsement contract.

The winner of the Australian and French Opens and a semifinalist at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Capriati is reportedly set to ink a $1.5 million deal with Italian sportswear manufacturer Fila Holding S.p.A. (FLH: down $0.40 to $4.05, Research, Estimates). Male athletes, no matter how big a star they are, generally see the end of their chance to sign endorsement deals when they run into drug problems.

Sports takes a back seat

There was no clearer sign of the lessening importance of sports in the lives of fans than the NHL preseason game in Philadelphia Thursday night between the Flyers and New York Rangers.

During the intermission between the second and third periods, the start of President Bush's address to Congress was played on the scoreboard. But when the speech was shut off as players prepared to start the third period, fans booed and chanted in unison, "Leave it on!"

The arena managers complied, as players skated to the bench and everyone watched the final 36 minutes of the speech. Officials with the teams decided not to resume the game at the conclusion of the speech, "out of respect for where the United States was headed in the near future." Players then shook hands at center ice as the sellout crowd applauded. graphic