Anchorage voters gave local Olympics boosters a 2-1 mandate to compete with European cities for the 1994 Winter Games, saying "yes" to staging privately funded $279 million Games but agreeing to have the city liable for any debt.
Final vote totals this morning showed that Olympics "yes" votes outnumbered "no" votes 34,480 (66 percent) to 17,760 (33.9 percent).A last-minute pro-Olympics blitz that saturated Anchorage with ads, signs, media, and grass-roots campaigning appeared to pay off with a surge of support for the city's Olympics bid in Tuesday's election.
"Anchorage says, `Yes.' It's prepared to put on the Olympics," said Anchorage Organizing Committee chairman Rick Mystrom to cheering supporters in a hotel ballroom where election results were coming in.
"We're going to Korea," Mystrom declared, referring to the meeting next month in Seoul where the International Olympics Committee will select one of four cities - Anchorage; Sofia, Bulgaria; Ostersund, Sweden; and Lillehammer, Norway - as site for the 1994 Winter Games.
Failure to get a majority would have doomed the bid by the only American city in the running.
Anchorage voters had to consider a long nine-part ballot measure that asked not just whether they supported the Olympics in Anchorage, but whether they support the city signing a contract promising to pay off any Olympics debt - an IOC requirement.
Just two months ago, a poll showed Anchorage voters evenly split over the Olympics funding. Last week, a poll found 55 percent support.