Saturday, September 7, 2013

Tokyo will host Olympic Games in 2020

(CNN) -- Tokyo has been chosen by the International Olympic Committee to host the 2020 Summer Games.
In voting Saturday in Buenos Aires, the committee picked Tokyo over the two other contenders, Madrid and Istanbul.
The announcement came at 5:20 a.m. Tokyo time, but a large crowd watching on an outdoor video screen burst into cheers.
Tokyo previously hosted the Summer Games in 1964.
Japan's bid for 2020 billed the city as the safe choice -- despite radiation leaking from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe personally made a presentation to the committee and promised an effective cleanup.
2020 Olympic host contenders 
2020 Olympic host contenders
Tokyo's bid came in at $5 billion to $6 billion, compared to $19 billion pledged by Istanbul, said Ed Hula, editor and founder of, which covers the business and politics of the Olympic movement.
But Tokyo's government has already amassed a $4.9 billion Olympic fund to pay to prepare for the Games, Hula said. And a $1 billion national stadium that will be used for the athletic events and the Opening Ceremonies will already have been built for the rugby World Cup in 2017 and is not considered an Olympic expense.
Turkey would have been the first Muslim country to host the Games, and with a median age of less than 30 years, one of the youngest. However, it missed out for the fifth time.
Istanbul would have been "a more emotional choice," Hula said. But its huge bid would have been needed to fund infrastructure improvements, including modernization of its transportation system.
Turkey's border with Syria also might have troubled some committee members, he said.
And this summer, the image of Turkish sport took a hit when about three dozen athletes tested positive for drugs, he said.
June's rioting in Istanbul's Taksim Square may also have tainted the city's hopes, though Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan tried to persuade IOC members ahead of Saturday's vote.
"We live at a time when our region and the world crave for peace," Erdogan said as part of Istanbul's final presentation.
"And at this critical moment, we would like to send a strong message of peace to the whole world from Istanbul, the city of friendship and brotherhood."
Tokyo led after a first round of voting Saturday but fell short of a majority, with 42. Istanbul and Madrid tied for second on 26 votes each, and a 49-45 tiebreaker vote put the Turkish city in the final runoff with Tokyo.
Tokyo won the deciding vote, 60 to Istanbul's 36, according to an IOC tweet.
Madrid, like Tokyo, was a repeat bidder -- making its third consecutive case for the Games, one that was little changed from previous attempts, Hula said.
The Spaniards' $2 billion bid said they had little need for new infrastructure, he said. And they have ample sports experience, having hosted a number of other high-profile, international events.
But the country's economic plight remained a drawback, with one out of four adults unemployed. Though Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy insisted that rate is improving, "the fact is that most reasonable, sensible economists think unemployment is going to linger at a high level for years to come," Hula said.
And Spain's athletes, too, have had issues with doping accusations. In a case that occurred several years ago, blood bags from athletes who had tested positive were destroyed, Hula said. "It's been a long-running situation."
Spain's Prince Philip, a former Olympic sailor, was a lead figure in Spain's presentation.
"Some people around the world have questioned hosting the Games in a time of economic uncertainty," he told the IOC members Saturday ahead of the voting.
"But I don't see this as a threat to the Olympics, I see it as an opportunity. The benefits of sport are measured in generations, not in dollars."
On Sunday, the three sports competing to be added to the 2020 roster will know their fate.
Squash is hoping to be included for the first time, but is up against a combined baseball/softball bid and wrestling -- which is seeking to be reinstated.
The 125th IOC session will be the last for president Jacques Rogge, who is standing down after 12 years in the role. The 71-year-old's successor will be elected Tuesday.
The 2016 Summer Olympics will be in Brazil. The Winter Olympics will be held in Russia in 2014 and South Korea in 2018.

IOC president Jacques Rogge announces the winner of the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, following Saturday's vote in Buenos Aires. 

Tokyo joined the ranks of multiple host cities, having staged the sporting showpiece in 1964. Here former Olympic athletes Hiromi Miyake (C) and Yoshiyuki Miyake (R) cheer the announcement back in Japan. 
Octogenarian "Olympic superfan" Naotoshi Yamada (L) and former Japanese tennis player Shuzo Matsuoka (R) were among those to cheer the announcement in the early hours of Sunday morning in Tokyo.  

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took time out from the G20 meeting in Russia to lead Japan's presentation, downplaying fears over radiation leakage at the Fukushima nuclear plant.  

Istanbul had hopes of winning the right to host the Summer Games for the first time after beating Madrid in the first round of voting to force a runoff with Tokyo. However, it then lost 60-36 in the decider. 
Spain's Prince Felipe, president of the Madrid 2020 bid committee Alejandro Blanco and IOC executive committee member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. had hoped it would be third time lucky for the city's chances. 
But Madrid lost 49-45 to the Turkish city in the first round runoff after a 26-26 tie in the initial vote, which Tokyo won with 42.

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