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SBD Global/February 28, 2013/Olympics

Istanbul Uses Fast-Growing Economy, Youth For City's Olympic 2020 Bid

Istanbul, which "failed in four previous attempts to stage the Olympics, is counting on its fast-growing economy and young population to land the 2020 Games," according to Danielle Rossingh of BLOOMBERG. The city "is competing with Madrid and Tokyo to organize the world's biggest sports event." Istanbul 2020 Campaign Chair Hasan Arat said, "This time, it’s totally different.This fifth bid is a new bid for a new Turkey." Arat said while the country struggled with "triple-digit" inflation a decade ago, that has improved to 7.3% last month. He said, "We are the fastest-growing economy in Europe. Between 2002 and 2011, we had annual economic growth of 5.2%. The time is right for Turkey, and for Istanbul." Arat said that the 2020 bid "has the support of 94 percent of the city’s population, half of whom are under the age of 25." He said, "We are focusing on our legacy for our young generation." Since '94, Istanbul "has built 14 Olympic venues, including the 75,000-seat Istanbul Ataturk Olympic Stadium and the multipurpose Sinan Erdem Dome, site of tennis’s WTA Championships and the 2010 World Basketball Championships." Arat said that Istanbul’s total investment -- including government infrastructure projects -- will be $19.2B and would generate 200,000 jobs. Tokyo has earmarked $4.5B for building projects, while Madrid has pledged $1.9B. Last month, seven of Turkey’s biggest companies said that they would sponsor the 2020 bid in a deal worth $20M in total (BLOOMBERG, 2/26). REUTERS reported Istanbul organizers said that "the country's sole aim was to win the right to host the 2020 Games despite being earmarked as one of the potential hosts" for football's European Championship being held the same year. IOC rules "would prevent" Turkey from hosting any other major sporting event in '20 "should it win hosting rights." Arat said, "Istanbul is very clear. It's for the 2020 Olympic bid. Istanbul is very clear on the rules and (a bid for Euro 2020) would go contrary to an Olympic bid" (REUTERS, 2/27).

MADRID 2020: CIT MAGAZINE's Tom Hall reported Madrid 2020 Bid President Alejandro Blanco said that "the project to bring the Games to the city was of the utmost importance for Spain and crucial to every aspect of its future development." He said: "With everything that is happening here, it would be a huge boost for us in social, economic and sporting terms. It will also help us repair the damage that others are causing to our image" (CIT MAGAZINE, 2/26).
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