Plan for Toronto's 2008 bid unveiled

Toronto has unveiled a blueprint for its bid to host the 2008 Olympics, proposing three major staging grounds or "rings" curled around the Lake Ontario waterfront.

Toronto has unveiled a blueprint for its bid to host the 2008 Olympics, proposing three major staging grounds or "rings" curled around the Lake Ontario waterfront.

The plan includes a 100,000-seat stadium, a rapid transit network connecting the major venues, and an Olympic village built on reclaimed industrial wasteland, organizers said on Tuesday.

Toronto is considered an outsider in what is expected to be a fierce competition led by Beijing.

Other possible candidates include Buenos Aires; Cairo; Istanbul; Paris; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Osaka, Japan; and Seville, Spain.

The International Olympic Committee will decide the winner in 2001.

Constructing venues included in the Toronto plan - such as the Olympic stadium and an aquatics center - would cost within the bid committee's $470 million capital budget, said John Bitove, the committee president and chief executive officer.

He said staging the Olympics should cost a total of $1.37 billion and produce $2.1 billion in revenue.

Other costs such as building the Olympic village would be paid by the private sector, which would turn the more than 4,000 units into rental housing after the Games, Bitove said.

The International Olympic Committee is still working out reforms to the selection process after revelations of bribery involving the 2002 Olympics to be hosted by Salt Lake City.

Last week, IOC vice president Dick Pound of Canada said he doubted if IOC members will be allowed to visit bidding cities.

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