SBD/Issue 244/Olympics

LOCOG Chair Calls '16 Olympic Race More Wide Open Than '12 Vote

 
LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe said that the October 2 IOC vote for the host of the '16 Summer Olympics is "even more wide open" than the vote for the '12 Games, according to Stephen Wilson of the AP. Coe said Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo all are "quite capable of staging extraordinary games." Coe: "I think this is probably even closer and tighter than the 2012 round. I think we probably recognized at this stage in the 2012 round that London and Paris probably had the momentum, and you could probably at that point have looked at the other cities and said at least two of them are beginning to tread water. It's very difficult to say that about any of these cities." Coe added, "No city should be sitting there saying, 'London did this, Sochi did that, or Paris did this.' You have to do what you absolutely genuinely think is intrinsically a part of your narrative. Trying to do something simply because another city did it is a dangerous route." Wilson noted it "still is unclear whether President Barack Obama will go to Copenhagen to push Chicago's bid" in October (AP, 9/7). In Chicago, Lynn Sweet cited sources as saying that White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett "will be going to Copenhagen in October for the city's final pitch," but the White House yesterday was "not ready to say one way or the other" if Obama would go (SUNTIMES.com, 9/8). UNIVERSAL SPORTS' Alan Abrahamson wrote Obama's appearance in Copenhagen "ought to be no less than the tomahawk slam-dunk on a sure winner" (UNIVERSALSPORTS.com, 9/8).

GET ON BOARD: In Chicago, Lisa Donovan reported Chicago 2016 is "in the midst of a last-minute phone and letter-writing campaign to the 107-member International Olympic Committee, hoping to allay concerns that Chicago's transit system can't handle the influx of just over a million visitors during the Games or that Chicago's financing plans don't provide an adequate safety net." Some observers have "questioned whether the city could afford to host the Games," but Chicago 2016 Chair Pat Ryan said that the bid group wants IOC members to "know they've cleared several hurdles, including getting the City Council's blessing for the mayor to sign the controversial host-city contract" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/6).

NOT BACKING DOWN: VANOC VP/Sponsorship, Sales & Marketing Andrea Shaw indicated that while sponsors "will scrutinize every penny they spend on 2010 Winter Games activation plans next year," few will "bail out on the Olympic party." Shaw: "For the most part, sponsors' programs are pretty much set and they're enjoying the huge enthusiasm for the Games coming and intend to capitalize on that." Coca-Cola Canada Dir of Public Affairs & Communications David Moran said that Coca-Cola "won't cut back its 2010 Games activation plans." Moran: "We're actually going the opposite way and trying to figure out what more we should be doing." Panasonic Canada GM of Corporate Brand Management Ian Kilvert said that the economic downturn "has forced the company to cut back spending," but he insisted that Panasonic "will maintain a strong presence in Vancouver during the Games." Meanwhile, Nike Canada in a statement said that it "will have a strong 'athlete, product and retail' presence during the Games" (Bruce Constantineau, VANCOUVER SUN, 9/5).

BACK TO CHINA? China Dir of the State General Administration of Sport Liu Peng yesterday said that Chinese cities Harbin and Changchun "plan to bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, but only one city will be chosen by the government." The Chinese Olympic Committee "must formally inform the International Olympic Committee of any potential bids from China for the 2018 Games by October 15" (AFP, 9/8).

YOUTH MOVEMENT: REUTERS' Brian Homewood reported European soccer clubs "have criticised" FIFA and President Sepp Blatter "over the Olympic soccer tournament, saying they have backtracked on an agreement to restrict it to under-21 teams." FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta: "We remember some statements from Mr. Blatter supporting this proposal. We thought it was clearly accepted by FIFA." The tournament is "currently open to players aged under-23 with up to three over-age players allowed per team" (REUTERS, 9/8).

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