IOC Set To Make Three Crucial Decisions During Meetings In Buenos Aires
The IOC over four days starting Saturday will "make three decisions of substantial importance" to the governing body's future, notable because members have never "voted on three such matters at essentially the same time," according to Philip Hersh of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The agenda includes choosing the host of the '20 Games on Saturday, voting on whether wrestling, squash or baseball/softball will be added to the Olympic program on Sunday and electing the IOC's next president Tuesday. Because the city vote is first, there is "rampant speculation about deal-making and the bearing of one outcome on another." IOC VP and presidential candidate Ser Miang Ng said, "I don't think the impact of which city wins will be significant on the election of the president." Hersh notes the city election "likely will have the biggest impact on Olympic matters" in the U.S. USOC Chair Larry Probst: "After we see (which city wins), that will enter into (what) we think about a bid for 2024" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/6). In DC, Liz Clarke reports wrestling is "believed to have the inside track" in the sport decision because FILA responded "swiftly and forcefully upon being kicked off the program six months ago" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/6).
HOST WITH THE MOST: In N.Y., Jere Longman reports all three cities bidding for the '20 Games -- Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid -- "pose risks, and it is impossible to know which will prevail in a secret ballot." Istanbul is making its fifth bid and would "offer a transcontinental Games that straddle Europe and Asia and place the Olympics for the first time in a predominantly Muslim country." That city’s selection would "follow the choice of Beijing in 2008 to situate the Games in China and the selection of Rio de Janeiro to put the 2016 Olympics in South America." Istanbul's chances were "considered to have suffered a setback when the police responded harshly to antigovernment protests there in June." The city's candidacy also has been "left uncertain by the war in neighboring Syria and a possible military intervention there" by the U.S. Tokyo, which hosted the '64 Games, has "attempted to use familiarity and reliability to position itself as the most capable host." However, after the country's earthquake and tsunami in '11, there are "concerns of another possible environmental disaster as the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to leak radioactive water into the Pacific." Madrid until early summer was "thought to be lagging behind the other bids." But IOC delegates have said that Madrid's bid "might have been resuscitated in a July presentation by Crown Prince Felipe, a former Olympian" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/6). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Futterman, Brat, Boudreaux & Martin write, "When the IOC votes on the 2020 Olympic host on Saturday, it will confront something of a devil's choice." In "any other year, the three aforementioned cities likely wouldn't stand a chance of landing the biggest event in sports" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/6).
WRESTLING'S RE-EMERGENCE: USA TODAY's Kelly Whiteside reports wrestling "responded to the IOC's wake-up call" after it was removed from the Olympic program in February, made "significant reforms and emerged as the favorite" to be added. Assuming wrestling is "back in, the whole exercise of adding a new sport now seems pointless." U.S. Squash CEO Kevin Klipstein said, "I'm not sure anyone wants to see wrestling out of the Olympics, so we agree, they have a strong case" (USA TODAY, 9/6). But the WALL STREET JOURNAL's Keates & Futterman write squash advocates "are still hoping for an upset." IOC VP Craig Reedie: "IOC votes can be unpredictable. Squash has presented their sport in an exceptional way" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/6).