- Title: VARIOUS: OLYMPICS - Four cities bid for 2016 Olympics
- Date: 25th September 2009
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (AUGUST 11, 2009) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) DR ICHIRO KONO, CEO OF TOKYO 2016 BID COMMITTEE, SAYS: "The fine aspect for venues will be the city of Tokyo's bay zone area. We will have the iconic main stadium for example, it will be the symbol of the 21st century Olympic Games using solar panels on top of the roof. It will be a great example for the environmental-friendly Olympic Games and also the great technology used in it. So this is very good for the Olympians and Paralympians as well."
- Embargoed: 10th October 2009 13:00
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA1MAAL09AHUTA0RN1G8RAZLEHQ
- Story Text: Bid leaders in Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo reflect on their chances as 2016 Olympic decision approaches.
Chicago, known through the years as the "second city", has often existed in the shadow of New York on the American map. In recent years, even its second tier status has been claimed by Los Angeles and fast-growing cities like Houston, Texas are threatening it's current spot as the country's third largest city. Nonetheless on October 2 in Copenhagen, the cities' Olympic Bid Committee will formally ask the world's sports mandarins to grant it the honour of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.
Olympic bid President Patrick Ryan represents a bid which has some strong elements including a relatively modest 4.8 billion USD price tag with a compact plan centered around Chicago's picturesque lakefront with most athletes housed within 15 minutes of their competition venues.
"Look out the window. Beautiful lakefront parks. We would have a tremondous setting for the Games. It would be the most athlete sensitive Games that we have ever encountered.The village would be unique as the Evaluation Committee of the IOC said.This would be a very unique village to have the athletes in such close proximity to the competition venues," Ryan told Reuters, speaking from his lakeside office.
The plan lacks a signature architectural gem like the Birds Nest in Beijing. Fifteen of Chicago's venues already exist, nine will be temporary and another six will be modified to smaller dimensions after the Games.
Residents are largely supportive of the bid but as in most cities competing for the Games, the fear of bloated budgets being absorbed by taxpayers has some residents concerned.
Chicago beat out Washington, DC and St Louis in winning the chance to stage the 1893 World's Fair where the ferris wheel and the hamburger supposedly made their debut.
The city hopes to put itself on the map once again with a victory in Copenhagen on October 2nd.
Madrid has never held a Summer Olympics before but was one of five shortlisted candidate cities for the 2012 Olympic Games, which were eventually awarded to London.
This time around, the Spanish capital enjoys the highest support among all bid cities, with 84.9 percent of the capital's residents backing the bid, according to the IOC's own poll.
Madrid has already begun work on new stadiums, including a 22,000-seater football and athletics stadium that will become home to the football club AtlÃ©tico Madrid. It's locally known as "La Peineta" because it resembles the hair-comb worn by flamenco dancers, and if Madrid won the bid, it would become the main Olympic Stadium.
Former international field hockey player Mercedes Coghen heads Madrid's 2016 bid and is confident that Madrid has what it takes to host the Games.
"I think that this is a city that's very hospitable and what I like most about it is that it has marvellous people who make you feel at home," Coghen told Reuters TV. "I think it also fulfils all the necessary prerequisites and is very well placed to organise the Games. Its transport systems, its infrastructure, its experience when it comes to organising events, its size - it's a very human city - and its passion for sport. All that put together makes this the ideal place to celebrate the Olympics."
However in its last report released before the October 2nd decision, the IOC expressed concern over a lack of "clear delineation" on the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders and their financial support.
Madrid also took a hit with the IOC still unclear whether national anti-doping laws complied with the World Anti-Doping Agency code, a point of greater importance for the IOC in recent years as it seeks to crack down on cheats during the Games.
"We have organised many high-profile events," counters Coghen, "and everything worked perfectly as the international federations, almost all of whom passed through Madrid, will be able to tell you. The only thing that it [the IOC report] said is that perhaps our presentations varied in quality but I think that those are small details. So I'm very happy, I don't think it was critical."
Madrid's strategy is to keep almost all the venues within a 10-kilometre radius, easily accessible by public transport. The organising committee point out that of the four cities, Madrid would likely need the smallest budget to host the Games. 23 of the 33 venues needed to host the Games are already ready, including Madrid's famous Santiago BernabÃ©u Stadium, home to Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, in Rio de Janeiro, there are claims that the beachside city of Bossa Nova and Carnival is the most picturesque and romantic choice when it goes up against the other bidding cities.
Brazil is also confident of becoming the first South American city to hold the Olympics after staging the Panamerican Games in 2007 and having won the right to hold the soccer World Cup in 2014.
The chief executive of Rio's bid committee, Carlos Roberto Osorio, said the city had received excellent feedback from the IOC and was ready to host the Games.
"Rio de Janeiro is without doubt prepared to receive the 2016 Games. We received a report from the IOC, by the evaluation commission, that was exceptional. Possibly, among the four cities, Rio has the best technical report and beyond that we have the support of the three levels of government and an exceptional city to receive the Games for the first time in South America. Rio is ready, ready to do this now," he said recently.
Brazilian authorities also believe the country's resilience to the global financial crisis has boosted Rio de Janeiro's bid.
Osorio also said Rio had presented a very realistic and accurate project and that it would stick to the initial budget.
"Rio's project was approved and, if chosen, it will carry out this project. We have the support of the three levels of government and all guarantees. We have the best possible conditions to receive the Games in 2016. In our opinion, the IOC will make an important decision for 2016, which may be historic," he said.
Rio's transport system alone needs a 5 billion U.S. dollars upgrade from the World Cup to be ready for the Olympics and the Games would cost about 15 billion dollars in total.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had confirmed his presence at the vote in Copenhagen.
Dr Ichiro Kono told reporters in London in August that Tokyo's bid to host the 2016 summer Games was the best plan for athletes and for the Olympic movement.
The chair and CEO of the Tokyo 2016 bid committee has been briefed by the London 2012 Olympic committee (LOCOG) and visited the east London site where the 2012 Olympic stadium, aquatics centre and other venues are being built.
The Japanese city plans to host 97 percent of the Olympic events within eight kilometres of the Olympic stadium, centred around Tokyo's bay area. The only exceptions would be four football stadiums around Japan used to stage football matches and the shooting range in Asaka city.
Dr Kono said that the proposed main stadium, shaped like a flying saucer, would be the centre of activities, located by the water in the bay.
"The fine aspect for venues will be the city of Tokyo's bay zone area. We will have the iconic main stadium for example, it will be the symbol of the 21st century Olympic Games using solar panels on top of the roof. It will be a great example for the environmental-friendly Olympic Games and also the great technology used in it. So this is very good for the Olympians and Paralympians as well," he said.
The 1964 Olympics took place in Tokyo and some venues can still be used for events, while others could be used as training venues by athletes. Five existing venues would be rebuilt to modern standards, such as the swimming centre and archery field.
There are 34 venues listed in the bid with five totally new venues being constructed such as the main stadium and the rowing course.
"At present we propose the 34 venues, and the 23 venues that already exist. But five venues will be new ones and six venues will be temporary so five venues will be a great gift to the next generation," Dr Kono said.
He added that Japan's government has given "cast iron financial guarantees" to underwrite every aspect of the Games plan. The Tokyo metropolitan government, he said, had already put aside four billion U.S. dollars for Olympic infrastructure projects.
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