NBA L.A. Lakers Pau Gasol "has also decided to join the Madrid 2020 bid in Buenos Aires, when the IOC is scheduled to announce the host of the 2020 Olympics," according to Masato Sugimori of BERNABEU DIGITAL. Gasol has canceled "countless agreements with sponsors that he previously had scheduled." Depending on "one final schedule change, Gasol will give a definitive yes" to Spanish Olympic Committee President Alejandro Blanco. Rafael Nadal "may not be able to attend" because he will be participating in the U.S. Open, with the semifinals and finals of that event scheduled for Sept. 6-8. It is "not a tournament to shoot down because Nadal has the opportunity to move to No. 1 in the world tennis rankings" (BERNABEAU DIGITAL, 8/21).
MADRID HASHTAG TRENDS WORLDWIDE: In Madrid, Alfredo Matilla reported the Madrid 2020 bid "set up a show of support for the candidacy on Twitter" at 8:20pm local time on Tuesday. The response from fans "exceeded all expectations, making Madrid 2020 a topic that trended worldwide on Twitter." Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz was one of many to express his support for Madrid, with the candidacy receiving backing on Twitter from top Spanish athletes including canoer Saúl Craviotto, basketball player José Manuel Calderón, tennis player Vivi Ruano, fencer José Luis Abajo Gómez, synchronized swimmer Ona Carbonell and hammer thrower Javier Cienfuegos. Former Spanish gymnast Almudena Cid tweeted, "Barcelona 92 me inspiró para luchar por mis sueños, tenía 12 años. Es el turno de Madrid y de los futuros jóvenes deportistas" ("Barcelona 92 inspired me to fight for my dreams when I was 12. Now is the turn for Madrid and for young future athletes") (AS, 8/21).
NOT ALL POSITIVE: LIBERTAD DIGITAL reported the "objective of becoming a 'Trending Topic' was achieved, however, the hashtag #QueremosJJOOenMadrid ("#WeWanttheOGinMadrid") was preceded in many cases by a 'no.'" One user tweeted, "enough already, this is drowning us." Another tweeted that "Spain wants the Games although it does not have enough money to host them" (LIBERTAD DIGITAL, 8/21).
Preparations in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics "are in full swing" less than six months before the start of the Games, according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. The host nation is "bracing for the torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia, Greece, next month." Organizers "are rushing to complete the venues" for the first Winter Games to be held in Russia. The symbolic start of the Games run-up will begin Sept. 29 with the torch lighting at the site of the ancient Olympic Games in Greece. Games Organizing Committee CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko said, "The preparations are going well and everybody is working incredibly hard to make sure that we reach all of our targets. We have received brilliant feedback at every stage." The Olympic flame "will cover some 65,000 kilometres across Russia and will visit more than 2,900 towns and settlements, carried by more than 14,000 bearers" (REUTERS, 8/21). Turkey Economic Minister Zafer Çağlayan announced Turkey’s construction industry had obtained 154 int'l projects worth $14B so far this year, strengthening Istanbul 2020’s credentials to deliver the infrastructure required for the 2020 Olympics (SPORTS FEATURES, 8/21).
Urging the Indian Olympic Association to sort out its differences with the IOC through negotiations, Sports Minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday "asked the administrators to put national interest first to ensure that the ban on India is revoked at the earliest." The IOC had sent the revised draft Constitution of the IOA, "which envisaged barring of corruption-tainted persons from contesting IOA elections." The IOA had objected to this provision, saying that "the Indian law would prevail on these matters." But the IOC last week "refused to change its stance on barring chargesheeted persons from contesting IOA elections" (PTI, 8/21). ... Tokyo has sent a clear message to the IOC less than three weeks before the vote to decide the host city for the 2020 Summer Games: "bank on us." With the IOC under pressure to keep escalating Olympic budgets in check, "Tokyo has underlined its promise to deliver a profitable Games without the risk of over-spending." Tokyo 2020 CEO Masato Mizuno said, "We're very healthy. Tokyo is a safe pair of hands and that includes financial strength. We already have a $4.5B Olympic hosting fund so financially there's no problem -- we're secure. We also have city and government guarantees" (AFP, 8/21).