SBD Global/June 4, 2013/OlympicsPrint All
Promoters of Istanbul's 2020 Olympics bid "remain confident the Turkish people are united behind their campaign despite fierce anti-government protests around the country in recent days," according to the AP. The demonstrations "grew out of anger over a violent police crackdown of a peaceful environmental protest at Istanbul's Taksim Square." Istanbul 2020 backers said in a statement, "Despite these recent events, all sections of Turkey remain united in our dream to host our nation's first ever Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020." The bid organizers said they are monitoring the demonstrations in Istanbul "very carefully" and, while they're buoyed by the "positive community spirit in helping to clean up and repair damage," the situation remains fluid. IOC Presidential candidate Denis Oswald said Monday that the protests "shouldn't threaten the bid." Oswald said, "I don't think it would necessarily affect the candidature. We are still three months away from the decision. It will depend if this continues and develops, but for the time being I don't think it's a real threat for the candidature" (AP, 6/3).
On June 22, "sports will take the streets of Madrid to support Madrid 2020," according to MARCA. Along with Marca's 75th anniversary, the newspaper, in collaboration with the Town Council and Community of Madrid, "will make sports reign for a night in the capital." The announcement of the event featured Madrid Mayor Ana Botella, Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) President Alejandro Blanco and Spanish Superior Sports Council (CSD) President Miguel Cardenal as masters of ceremony. Botella invited all Madrid citizens to join the celebration. Botella: "We are a city with wholehearted commitment to sports, which is without a doubt one of the hallmarks of our identity. We have demonstrated this in the last five years with the great success of Sports Day in previous editions" (MARCA, 6/3).
Int'l Rowing Federation President and IOC presidential hopeful Denis Oswald distanced himself from the IOC's current leadership on Monday, saying that "wrestling's 2020 Olympics exit could have been handled better and that more sports could join the Games," according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. Oswald, who as a long-time IOC exec board member was part of the decision-making process until '12, said that "the IOC's February exclusion of wrestling from the 2020 Games was not well handled." Oswald, bidding against five other candidates for the presidency, told reporters on a telephone conference call from Lausanne, "I am no longer on the Executive Board ... but I must say I was very surprised that wrestling was eliminated. The (wrestling) federation maybe did not make the effort but I think there were other ways to warn them because wrestling is a basic sport (of the Games) and I am convinced they will come back." Oswald said that despite an IOC cap of 28 sports, "he could see more sports joining in the future if existing ones reduced events that were not 'universally' popular or the number of athletes." Oswald: "What I propose is not to limit strictly at 28 sports but reduce the representation of some sports' disciplines. Even in major sports there are some disciplines that are not universal" (REUTERS, 6/3).