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SBD Global/September 5, 2013/Olympics
IOC's Upcoming 2020 Host Decision Could Impact Turkish PM Recep Ergodan's Future
Published September 5, 2013
TOKYO CONFIDENT: KYODO's Dave Hueston reported "by most experts' accounts, although the possibility of a few swing voters can't be ruled out, Tokyo is likely to be voted in as the 'safest' choice among the three candidates." Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose said, "I'm in the final track race. There is no looking behind, no looking to the side; I intend to dash to the finish." Tokyo is bidding for the second time in a row. Its main theme: "reliability and safety in a time of global uncertainty. Madrid is making its third straight attempt, while Istanbul is bidding for the fifth time." This time, however, it is not "necessarily who has the strongest bid, but whose bid appears to have the fewest pitfalls in light of other political or economic shortcomings." Tokyo still faces questions on how "it is coping with a massive leak of radioactive water at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima following meltdowns triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami." Olympic experts also point out that "another drawback for Tokyo is the fact that Pyeongchang, South Korea, is hosting the 2018 Winter Games (IOC members might not want back-to-back Games in Asia)." Madrid, whose bid was "nearly dead on arrival because of Spain's ongoing economic crisis when launched two years ago," has made a resurgence as the "low-cost alternative," with 80% of the "venues ready and a construction budget" of €1.5Bs ($1.9B) (KYODO, 9/4).
FUKUSHIMA OVERSHADOWING BID: The AFP reported the "battered nuclear plant at Fukushima, where radioactive water is leaking into the ocean, hangs over Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympic Games." Just "two-and-a-half years into what could be a four-decade clean-up, the nuclear disaster sparked by an earthquake and tsunami is very much the Achilles heel of Tokyo's effort to bag the Games." Tokyo 2020 supporters, "chief among them" Japan PM Shinzo Abe, insist that the plant, 220 km north of Tokyo, "poses no danger to athletes or spectators." Abe said, "Voices of concern have been raised about the waste water problem in Fukushima. The government will stand at the forefront to completely fix this problem. I want to explain that this is not going to be a problem in any way in seven years' time" (AFP, 9/4).
OLYMPIC 'GURU' FAVORS MADRID: In Madrid, Juan Jiménez reported Duncan Mackay "is an Olympic guru." Mackay works for Inside The Games, which "specializes in Olympic projects and races and has written about the Olympic universe for more than 25 years." Mackay, who was "chosen as the best British Internet sportswriter in '09," said, "Madrid is the favorite, without a doubt. The other two candidates have problems, a lot of problems in recent months. First, Istanbul with massive doping problems to which the Syria problem has been added. And in Japan, the effects of the Fukushima problems are long-term problems. Madrid is ahead, it is the favorite" (AS, 9/4).