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September 05, 2013

IOC Set to Choose 2020 Olympics Host

by VOA News

The International Olympic Committee is meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, this week and will vote Saturday on the host city for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The three bidding cities are Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid.
 
While Japan's capital is considered the favorite, the country has had to deflect concerns over a radioactive water leak from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.
 
Tokyo bid committee president Tsunekazu Takeda says enthusiasm for the city’s bid has been growing steadily.
 
"People are excited to imagine Tokyo transformed to a city center party as never before," he said. "And we Japanese people have always loved sports, and our TV ratings of the Olympic and Paralympic Games are among the highest in the world."
 
Istanbul's candidacy is uncertain because of the current political situation, but the city's bid chief, Hassan Arat, said bidding for the games has left a lasting sporting legacy for Turkey and the world regardless of who wins the 2020 hosting rights.
 
"The bid has really inspired people," he said. "The last IOC public poll supported Istanbul — 83 percent, the highest among these three cities."
 
Madrid has tried to deflect questions about its 27-percent unemployment rate and national economic struggles. Alejandro Blanco Bravo, Madrid’s bid committee chairman, said bringing the games to Spain's capital would transform the society.
 
“The situation that we have experienced in Spain, in Europe, and in the world, indicates that there is a significant lack of values," he said. "Sport can provide us with them, and the Olympic Games are the greatest expression of these values."
 
Madrid has failed in three prior attempts to become Olympic host. It was runner-up to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which is staging the 2016 Summer Games.