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Volume 6 No. 212


Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul made their final presentations on Wednesday to the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland to be selected as the host site for the 2020 Summer Olympics, according to MUNDO DEPORTIVO. The final decision will be made on Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires. Each of the three Olympic host candidates gave a 45-minute presentation followed by a 45-minute period to answer questions from the IOC. Madrid presented first, followed by Istanbul and Tokyo (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 7/3).

: In Madrid, Gerardo Riquelme reported Madrid 2020 finished its presentation in Lausanne before the IOC assembly "ahead of schedule" after IOC members used only 10 of the 45 minutes allotted for questions. After Madrid 2020's initial presentation, the Spanish delegation only had to answer five questions. IOC member Marisol Casado said, "They have asked us what we wanted to ask." Together with two "very general questions about Olympic values and freedom of the press, which all three candidates had to answer, the IOC members asked if a new anti-doping law has already been approved, if hotel prices are finalized and about the legacy of Barcelona '92" (MARCA, 7/3). Also in Madrid, Juan Mora reported "different from Istanbul and Tokyo, each member of the Madrid 2020 candidacy that presented was applauded by the IOC" (AS, 7/3). Also in Madrid, LIBERTAD DIGITAL reported that Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) President Alejandro Blanco said, "The opinions are favorable. Many recognize that Madrid's bid is the best. The candidacy does not have one problem. There has not been anything like this before. We have to think they will give it to us because Madrid is prepared and if you are not prepared, you can never win" (LIBERTAD DIGITAL, 7/3).

MADRID 'OVERDUE': Also in Madrid, MARCA Editorial Dir General Pedro J. Ramírez wrote in a letter to IOC members advocating for Madrid 2020 that "Madrid has attempted to claim this honor three times consecutively and three times consecutively it has surpassed the IOC requirements and has been proclaimed finalist." I "want you to know that Madrid is a sure bet and full of potential to achieve the aims of the IOC. Actually, the cosmopolitan, multi-cultural and multi-racial Madrid, over-flowing with and welcoming to tourism, open to immigration, the connecting heart of everything, for everyone, has for a long time been Olympic, without knowing it." In '20, "28 years will have passed since then, more than double the interval between the L.A. and Atlanta Games; and Madrid will continue being the only great capital of the developed world that after thirty one Olympiads in the modern era has not yet been a venue for the Games" (MARCA, 6/30).

TOKYO: KYODO reported Tokyo's presentation promised to "maximize the power of sports to worldwide audiences, raise the profile of athletes and promote the Olympic movement." Tokyo 2020 President Tsunekazu Takeda said, "Japan has been touched by the universal power of sport ... and is committed to sharing that power with others" (KYODO, 7/3).

ISTANBUL: In Madrid, Gerardo Riquelme reported "not one of the 86 IOC members had the curiosity to ask the Istanbul 2020 candidacy about the protests that have taken place in the streets in recent weeks." Turkey Secretary of State for Economy & Foreign Affairs Ali Babacan said, "In any healthy democracy, protests are a good sign. It has been in the street that people have protested peacefully for different questions and we have listened. They do not demand work or denounce adverse situations, they demand improvement in education, in professions" (MARCA, 7/3).

The leader of Russia's Islamist movement "has lifted a moratorium on attacks inside Russia and called on his rebels to disrupt the upcoming Winter Olympics in the southern city of Sochi," according to Miriam Elder of the London GUARDIAN. In a video dated in June, Russian Islamist Doku Umarov said his followers must use "maximum force" to ensure the Games do not take place. After claiming responsibility for deadly attacks on the Moscow metro and Moscow's Domodedovo airport, Umarov last year "declared a ceasefire inside Russia as protests against the Kremlin leadership gripped the capital." In the video he said Russian President Vladimir Putin "had mistaken the move for weakness." Umarov: "Today we must show those who live in the Kremlin … that our kindness is not weakness" (GUARDIAN, 7/3). REUTERS' Thomas Grove reported Umarov "sat wearing camouflage fatigues and a cap in front of a black jihadist flag, flanked by two fighters who, like him, were bearded." Umarov: "They (Russia) plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims, buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea, and we as mujahideen are obliged to not permit that, using any methods allowed us by the almighty Allah" (REUTERS, 7/3). The AP's Nataliya Vasilyeva reported analysts have said that the Islamic insurgency raging across the North Caucasus mountains that tower over Sochi "is a daunting threat to the Games" -- although rebels have not attacked Sochi so far (AP, 7/3).

MAKING SOCHI SAFE: In London, Charles Clover reported Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov said the Games had taken “unprecedented precautions on security” while constructing Olympic sites. Pakhomov: “I am always worried about security, but I am confident that we have the right measures in place.” The issue of safety "will continue to worry officials," given the proximity of the games to the war-torn North Caucasus region, with Chechnya and Dagestan located just over the Caucasus Mountains from Sochi (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/3). RIA NOVOSTI reported Russia's federal counter-terrorism officials "pledged safety at the international sports events to be held in the country." The National Antiterrorist Committee (NAK) said in a statement, "despite calls by various gang leaders … active in certain regions of the North Caucasus, all of Russia’s state institutions, special services and law enforcement bodies are constantly implementing a set of measures aimed at providing security for Russian citizens." The NAK statement "stressed a particular focus on large-scale international sports events" (RIA NOVOSTI, 7/3).

Almost exactly eight years since British Olympic Association Chair Sebastian Coe "delivered the electrifying speech that won the Olympic Games for London, he will aim to bring the fledgling Youth Olympics to Glasgow in 2018 with the argument that it will help finish what he started," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Coe: "This was always going to be a 20-year journey -- three years to land the thing [London 2012], seven to deliver and 10 years to capture everything we witnessed last year. For me, having a Youth Olympic Games at the midway point of that 10-year journey is fantastic." Coe will be one of a four-strong presentation team that on Thursday "will try to see off competition" from Medellín, Colombia and Buenos Aires for the Youth Olympics, "a pet project" of outgoing IOC President Jacques Rogge. Glasgow's rivals "are likely to argue" that the U.K. has had its share of major sporting events over recent years, and that the development event, which brings together 3,600 athletes aged between 14 and 18 from around the world to compete in a range of sports, "should go to a developing nation." But Coe "will argue that the event is still too fragile and would benefit from being held in a mature market in its third incarnation." Coe said, "I'm committed to globalized sport, but you have to do it in a way where you send entities out there fully fledged and fully formed. Not to do it in a state where the roots are still pretty shallow" (GUARDIAN, 7/3).