Madrid Olympic bid organizers said that hosting the 2020 Olympic Games in Madrid would provide a €3.87B ($5B) boost to the Spanish economy and generate 83,000 full-time jobs, according to the AFP. On the second day of an inspection visit by the IOC's evaluation commission, Madrid bid committee member Juan Antonio Samaranch said, "Organizing the Games would also generate a positive impact on citizens' welfare estimated at over 800 million dollars." Samaranch added that with 28 of the 35 proposed venues already completed, the cost of building and refurbishing venues for the Games would amount to around €1.5B ($1.95B), "far lower than the price tag for the London 2012 Olympics and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro." He said, "The London Games were based on the concept of the reconstruction of the East End. That is great for them. But Madrid's bid is very different. The investment has already been made, now is the time for it to bear fruit." Spanish officials are hoping for a repeat of Barcelona's successful staging of the 1992 Olympics, which were "a huge boost to the city's stature as a tourist hot spot and helped promote the country internationally." Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria said, "The Olympic Games would be good for all of Spain, not just for Madrid" (AFP, 3/20).
Russian Paralympic Committee head Mikhail Terentiev said Wednesday "the country’s sports fans must be educated to view next year’s Paralympics in Sochi as real sport rather than a 'charity drive,'" according to R-SPORT. Terentiev said that "spectators disturbed blind athletes by shouting during their Sochi test events for cross-country skiing and biathlon, adding that it was a common problem at Winter Paralympics." He said, "You need to attract not just spectators to fill the stands, but precisely those who understand how they need to behave." The Paralympics will be held from March 7-16 (R-SPORT, 3/20).
The Japanese Olympic Committee said Tuesday that it "has cut funding for the All Japan Judo Federation and ordered it to take preventive measures as punishment for coaches' abusive training of female judokas," according to the AP. The JOC also cancelled a $260,000 "annual subsidy for the federation for this year." The JOC directive also included a ban on violent coaching, "more transparency in team selections and increased hiring of female coaches." The JOC has also "established an anonymous reporting system for any violence, harassment or misconduct in sports." A committee of JOC executives and an outside lawyer have concluded after careful review that "serious misconduct had occurred" during judo training, the JOC said in a statement (AP, 3/19). REUTERS reported the JOC has promised to take steps to wipe out violence among its sports federations after a survey revealed more than 10% of its athletes "had been victims of bullying or harassment." JOC Dir Tsuyoshi Fukui said, "We all have to recognize that we must move toward eradicating this (violence). We have to accept that these results from the survey are extremely serious." The report released at a JOC executive board meeting on Tuesday showed 11.5%, or 206, of the 1,798 athletes who responded to its survey said that "they had been bullied," Kyodo news agency said (REUTERS, 3/20).