The International Olympic Committee (IOC), whose members will vote in around 3 months to choose the venue for the 2020 Summer Olympics, appear to be favoring Tokyo’s bid to host the quadrennial sports showcase, this revealed by several committee members. Despite the recent gaffes of the Tokyo bid, the Japanese capital’s emphasis on safety and security appears to be winning over IOC members, pitting Tokyo’s “clean and orderly” image against recent turmoil and instability in Istanbul and Madrid.
A long-time IOC member from Europe, speaking only on condition of anonymity, revealed that hosting the 2020 Summer Games seems to be within Tokyo’s reach. Another high-profile member who has served on the IOC Executive Board believes Tokyo should clinch the bid, as long as it doesn’t make any more major mistakes before the vote. Istanbul, on its fifth Olympic bid, was recently favored for the novel claim and aim of becoming the first Islamic city to host the games. Recent actions of the Turkish authorities against anti-government protests, though, have pushed Tokyo’s stock sharply upwards. Instanbul’s police are now being held responsible for attacking peaceful demonstrators in Taksim Square, which was a “big blow” to Istanbul’s bid, said an IOC member from Asia who would only speak anonymously. Madrid, on the other hand, is plagued by a long-running economic crisis that has spoken of the country’s instability.
Tokyo’s bid is suffering from lack of a clear concept for the games, and this has been viewed as a weakness by the IOC. But the issue of security is gathering steam, especially after the some high-profile security threats in sporting activities early this year. The three candidate cities recently made presentations to more than 800 national Olympic committee representatives during the Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday. This followed the first such presentation to the IOC at the SportsAccord conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, in May. The race enters the final stretch in the next three months, and it should be a comfort for those who are behind the Tokyo bid to know that the high-profile gaffe by Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose, published by the New York Times no less – a mistake that almost half of the city believed was fatal to its bid – has been somewhat saved by outside circumstances plaguing the other bid cities.
[via Kyodo News]