IOC Evaluation Commission Reports Madrid, Tokyo, Istanbul Dead Even In 2020 Race
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).