SBD Global/January 9, 2013/Olympics

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  • Spanish Officials Say Lagging Economy Won't Hamper Country's Bid For 2020 Olympics

    Madrid 2020 President of Council of Sport Miguel Cardenal, left, Madrid Mayor Ana Botella and IOC member Alejandro Blanco pose at the IOC headquarters Monday.

    Officials behind the Madrid 2020 bid that was submitted Monday said that the city "will be capable of staging a successful 2020 Olympics despite the parlous state of Spain's finances," according to Iain Rogers of REUTERS. Spanish Olympic Committee President Alejandro Blanco said, "The biggest weakness we have is the economy, but we can overcome it." Officials said that hosting the Games "would help to boost the economy, burnish Spain's image and unite citizens during tough times." Blanco said, "There is no investment with a greater medium- and long-term benefit than an Olympic Games." The bid team noted that an initial estimate revealed a Madrid Olympics would cost €1.52B ($1.99B), plus another €150M ($196M) for services such as health and security. The London Games, however, spent an estimated $14.5B, and the Athens Games spent around $12B, both "far above early projections." Madrid is competing against Istanbul and Tokyo and is bidding for a third consecutive time after failing to land the '12 and '16 editions (REUTERS, 1/8).

    IN TOKYO: REUTERS' Alastair Himmer noted Tokyo 2020 President Tsunekazu Takeda said that "concerns that a major earthquake could strike during the 2020 Olympics will not affect Tokyo's chances of hosting the Games." Takeda said, "You can't predict with any certainty where and when earthquakes will hit." Tokyo "is the favourite" of bookmaker William Hill to beat rivals Istanbul and Madrid, offering odds of 4/6, while Istanbul is 5/2 and Madrid 3/1. Despite the "economic strength and strong infrastructure" of Tokyo, Takeda has "faced questions over whether the city could withstand another major earthquake." Takeda: "We stressed to the IOC that Tokyo's buildings can withstand earthquakes. Tokyo's government is also working on making sports facilities even more quake-proof and seven years from now they certainly will be" (REUTERS, 1/8). Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also the All Japan Archery Federation chairman, has been named as the supreme advisor of Tokyo 2020. Abe said, "It is extremely important for the national government to realise our goal of hosting the 2020 Games, and continue in our aspiration to further promote Japan as a sports nation" (Tokyo 2020).

    IN ISTANBUL: In London, Owen Gibson noted Istanbul 2020's bid leader Hasan Arat has claimed that the city's "unique geographical position bridging two continents will give it the edge over its rivals." He "outlined plans to stage a spectacular Opening Ceremony in front of more than half a million people lining the Bosphorus." Arat, who is also the Turkish Olympic Committee VP, said: "We will have an incomparable backdrop, combining natural and architectural beauty like nowhere else. That is why it has been a global city of inspiration for thousands of years." Istanbul is bidding for a fifth time and "is seen as the riskier choice" because many of its venues and infrastructure still need to be built. Arat, however, insisted that the non-organizing committee budget of $19.2B, which is much higher than that of Madrid and Tokyo, "had been guaranteed by the government and was largely accounted for by major infrastructure projects that would proceed with or without the Games" (GUARDIAN, 1/8).


    In French, LA PARISIAN reports

    In Spanish, MARCA reports





    Print | Tags: Olympics, Europe, Japan
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