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Volume 6 No. 215


Poland and Slovakia backed a joint bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics on Wednesday, "hoping to win the first Games for the two central European countries," according to Jan Lopatka of REUTERS. The countries' prime ministers announced the bid after meeting in the Slovak town of Poprad, at the foot of the Tatra Mountains "where alpine skiing disciplines would be held to make up for a lack of suitable terrain in mostly flat Poland." Slovak PM Robert Fico said, "We have a clear vision. We are not interested in any megalomania." Fico "brushed aside questions" about whether the costs of hosting the games would be justified, "especially as the euro zone struggles with its lengthy debt crisis." Fico: "We have crisis now. Should we crawl under the table? When we have crisis, we should not think about the future, ignore any chances that come up?" (REUTERS, 3/27). The AP reported under the proposal, the hub "would be Poland's historic city of Krakow, with most snow events in the Tatra mountain resorts of Zakopane." Jasna "would host Alpine skiing in Slovakia." Polish PM Donald Tusk said after meeting Fico in Poprad that a joint bid has "an extraordinary chance" to succeed (AP, 3/27).

The IOC's evaluation commission head said that Istanbul's presentation of its bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games left an "excellent impression," according to Daren Butler of REUTERS. Turkey's largest city, which is competing with Tokyo and Madrid for the 2020 Games, presented its candidacy to the IOC commission, headed by IOC VP Craig Reedie, this week. Turkish officials highlight the bid as "offering the first opportunity for a secular Muslim democracy to host the Games," which would also be the first staged on two continents -- Europe and Asia. Keen to avoid indicating a preference for any of the three candidate cities, Reedie said, "Excellent impression in my world is exactly the same as 'hugely impressed' or 'greatly impressed'," referring to his comments about Tokyo and Madrid (REUTERS, 3/27).

The Olympic Park, "off limits to the public since the end of the London 2012 Games," is reopening for short visits. So far, 20,000 tickets have been sold to people wanting to see the site in Stratford, east London, "where Olympic and Paralympic medals were won and lost" (BBC, 3/27). ... The Bangladesh Olympic Association has been "given assurance from the sponsors" about providing Tk 20-22 crore ($2.6M-$2.8M) to make Bangladesh Games a success "while it has already been allocated" Tk 5 crore ($640,000) by the government for the eighth edition of the extravaganza, which is scheduled to be held from April 20 to 28 in the capital (DAILY STAR, 3/28). ... Toyota Motor Corporation became the 17th official bid partner of Tokyo's 2020 bid (Tokyo 2020).