Sydney: Promising a ''utopia'' for competitors, Toronto Olympic bid organisers on Monday sought to rally athletes behind their campaign for the 2008 Games.
By playing to its strengths as a clean, environmentally friendly city where athletes can perform at their best, the Canadian city is hoping to stop a charge by Beijing, the political odds-on favourite.
John Bitove, the president of the bid committee, on Monday described facilities on the drawing board as a ''utopia''. Athletes would be housed in a single Olympic village on the shores of lake Ontario, which would boast its own beach and parks within walking distance of the Olympic stadium.
To beat traffic problems, which plagued Atlanta, and have dogged the Sydney Games, Bitove said no competition would be further than six km (3.7 miles) from the village.
The media village would be within one km of the Olympic stadium,international broadcast centre and main press centre.
''At some point, the Olympics are about sport and athletes,'' he said. ''However the political chips fall, we've put forward a planthat's best for athletes.''
To underline the message, organisers have drafted in US basketball star Vince Carter as their main ambassador in Sydney.
Carter has moved to the great lakes city as a player with the Toronto Raptor team. Carter's endorsement also bolsters Toronto's claim to carry the torch for all of the Americas, including the United States, Central and South America.
It also makes the point that Toronto, just a hop across the border from the United States, would be a user-friendly location for US television networks. And it could tap the huge US market for ticket sales.
''It's a clean city and a safe city - that's what I like most,'' said Carter.
Toronto and Beijing are on a short-list of five cities to host the 2008 Games along with Paris, Istanbul and Osaka.