Plenty going on beneath surface

BILL LANKHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

GUADALAJARA -- The Toronto bid committee bats third when final presentations are made tomorrow by the three bid cities for the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Here's hoping they'll be ready to counter any, uhmm, funny business that might arise earlier.

These events are a bit like looking at an iceberg. There's a lot more happening under the surface than is visible.

Bob Richardson has seen some curious turnabouts. The bid committee's senior adviser was chief officer of Toronto's bid for the Beijing Games and in Copenhagen this year when Chicago was shockingly knocked out in the first round.

"It's always difficult to tell how a vote is going. You just have to keep working right to the end," he said.

For instance, Jagoda Pike, president of the bid committee, saw it happen when Hamilton lost the bid to New Delhi for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. At the last minute, India came up with $200,000 for every national Olympic committee. There are many smaller national organizations who couldn't resist. In some places that would be called a bribe. In others it's just business.

While it won't prevent all back-room deals, the new rules are to prevent a repeat of the New Delhi situation. "What they wanted was to avoid a last-minute bidding war," said Richardson. "It's an excellent rule. People have to focus on their plan and not some last-minute promises."

So, is this the end to skullduggery? Richardson laughed, and alluding to the alphabetical order of tomorrow's final presentations said: "Let's just say I'm happy Toronto begins with a 'T', not an 'A'."


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