An IOC report on the three cities wanting to host the 2020 Summer Olympics indicated there was no clear favorite among the bids from Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul, according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. The "struggling Spanish economy was of no risk to Madrid, security in Turkey did not threaten Istanbul's chances and Tokyo's low public support was offset by praise for the bid's financial strength," the report said on Tuesday. The winning city will be selected at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September. The report "comes before a crucial meeting" in Lausanne, Switzerland on July 3-4 when the bid cities will "present their plans to the entire membership of the IOC" (REUTERS, 6/25). KYODO reported the IOC's report gave Tokyo high marks "for its proposal for a compact Games" in which 85% of competition venues fall within an 8km radius. Tokyo was also lauded for its fluid transportation network and financial soundness. The report said, "Athletes would enjoy short travel times as the majority of venues would be within 20 minutes of the Olympic Village." The report also said that golf and the venues for modern pentathlon, football and road cycling "would require longer traveling times" (KYODO, 6/25).
EACH BID FLAGGED: BLOOMBERG's Alex Duff reported the evaluation flagged concerns including Tokyo's hotel rates, traffic congestion in Istanbul and the ability of Madrid to raise sponsorship. The committee said that "it was concerned about the 'guaranteed maximum' hotel rates in Tokyo that would be as much as $1,634 per night for a double room in a five-star hotel and $571 in a three-star hotel." The committee was "cautious" about whether Madrid can meet its target of raising $694M in sponsorships in Spain. The country is in the sixth year of an economic slump. In Istanbul, the report said that "there's a 'high' risk of traffic congestion because of plans to stage sports in the European and Asian sides of the city" (BLOOMBERG, 6/25).
PROTESTS NO THREAT: REUTERS' Karolos Grohmann also reported weeks of anti-government protests that have rocked Turkey "pose no threat to Istanbul's bid to land the 2020 Olympics." Istanbul 2020 CEO Hasan Arat said, "Turkey's youth is exercising its democratic right to stage peaceful protests. I am actually very proud of young people standing up for their beliefs" (REUTERS, 6/25).
BLANCO PLEASED: In Madrid, Almudena Rivera wrote Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) Alejandro Blanco appeared "very satisfied" with the report. Blanco: "This report is truly spectacular. Today is a day of great satisfaction and responsibility for the position in which we find ourselves. On the seventh, (of September, in Buenos Aires) we will have a huge test, but to this day we have to continue working in stages" (MARCA, 6/25). Rivera also reported that IOC Evaluation Commission President Craig Reedie said, "It is the best project Madrid has ever presented." Madrid 2020 CEO Victor Sanchez said, "In the bids before there were frailties" (MARCA, 6/25).
The requirement of obtaining a spectator pass in order to enter Olympic events and the Olympic Park at next year's Sochi 2014 Winter Games has raised some concern, but Organizing Committee President & CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko told SBD Global the process is similar to buying an airplane ticket. He said, "The process is very simple and straightforward -- ticket holders will be asked to provide similar data to what is requested when buying tickets for a flight, for example." In order to acquire such a spectator pass, ticket holders will have to provide personal data such as their passport information, address, photo, potentially banking information, etc. Asked if the data to obtain a spectator pass might invade a person's privacy, Chernyshenko said, "The state is responsible for ensuring the safe hosting of the Games, and it is its top priority." He added, "The spectator pass will be necessary to all ticket holders in order to gain entry to sporting events, Games ceremonies and the Olympic Park. The spectator pass will help to ensure the secure, hospitable and friendly atmosphere of the Games in Sochi." The organizing committee tested the spectator pass issuing system during test events in Sochi such as the biathlon World Cup and the World Junior Hockey Championship. The tests were a success as a total of 40,000 spectator passes were issued. Chernyshenko said, "I personally passed the whole procedure to get my spectator pass and tested it at the biathlon World Cup this March. As for the Games, [the] spectator pass will be a memorable souvenir and will allow all spectators at the Games to enjoy their visit to the sporting and cultural events in maximum comfort."
HOT TICKET: Should the spectator pass not discourage some from attending the Sochi Games, the hefty ticket prices could do the trick, especially for int'l visitors. The Moscow News reported recently that "it could cost you up to $10,000 -- or even more depending on the kind of package you end up getting." However, despite this news, Chernyshenko said he is "extremely pleased with the results" of the ticket sales. The ticket sales for Sochi 2014 began on Feb. 7 via the Games' official website, www.sochi2014.com. Chernyshenko said, "In the first week since the start of ticket sales for the 2014 Games, the demand for them has exceeded expectations. For example, the website for ticketing during this period reported more than half a million unique visitors. In the first hours after the start of ticket sales, up to 7,000 applications were processed every minute." He added, "Ticket sales are already active all over the world, including the U.S., Great Britain and Germany." Tickets for Sochi 2014 are on sale in 89 countries, and so far 30% of ticket sales have been int'l. The most popular events of int'l buyers are hockey, speed skating, alpine skiing, biathlon and cross-country skiing. The distribution of seats at the venue sites began on June 1 for all tickets purchased during the period from Feb. 7-May 31. As of August, fans will be able to buy tickets with the respective places. Main ticket centers will open in Moscow and Sochi in the fall.
Yamaha Motor Co. "has become an official supplier of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and will provide more than 320 snowmobiles and other vehicles for the event" (KYODO, 6/25). ... Int'l Rugby Board CEO Brett Gosper said that "the inclusion of rugby sevens in the 2016 Olympic Games was a 'defining moment' for a sport that continues to roll back boundaries in interest and growth" (AFP, 6/25).