Istanbul and Tokyo plead their cases for 2020 Olympics, Madrid out

Jacques Rogge (C), president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and other members listen to the presentation by the Istanbul 2020 committee as a candidate to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, in Buenos Aires. Credit: Reuters
Jacques Rogge (C), president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and other members listen to the presentation by the Istanbul 2020 committee as a candidate to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, in Buenos Aires.
Credit: Reuters

Istanbul and Tokyo made impassioned pleas to the International Olympic Committee on Saturday to entrust them with hosting the 2020 summer Games.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphatically promised the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant would have no negative effect on Tokyo, while his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan urged the IOC to choose Istanbul and help “send a strong message of peace to the whole world”.

After two years of intense lobbying and tens of millions of dollars spent, the two cities have just a few hours left to convince the IOC they are the best choice as host.

But with each city wrestling its own demons, the usual beauty parade has become a “least ugly” contest as they frantically attempt to conceal their blemishes and win the right to host the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza.

Ninety-five IOC members are expected vote in the first round, due to start at 3.45pm local time (2:45 p.m. ET), after two were excused. Should a city not obtain an outright majority of votes, the candidate with the least votes will be eliminated and the two remaining cities will go head to head in a second round.

FUKUSHIMA CONCERNS

Predictably the Japanese team was forced to fend off concerns about the Fukushima nuclear plant 230 km (140 miles) from Tokyo after the plant’s operator admitted that hundreds of tonnes of radioactive water are pouring into the Pacific Ocean each day, and radiation levels have spiked.

Abe’s government said this week it will spend almost half a billion dollars to try to fix the water crisis and on Saturday he told the IOC that it would not be a problem.

“Let me assure you the situation is under control,” Abe said. “It has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo.

“There are no health-related problems until now, and nor will there be in the future — I make the statement to you in the most emphatic and unequivocal way.”

He later told reporters: “I explained about the safety of Tokyo. There were some misunderstandings but I explained the situation. I explained about the water contamination in Fukushima and explained that the contaminated water was blocked.

“Yes please come to Japan. You can be assured.”

Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964 and the bid team stressed a proven record.

“Choose Tokyo today and you choose a nation that is passionate, proud and a strong believer in the Olympic movement and one which wants to work with the IOC to make the world a better place through sport,” Abe said.

ERDOGAN PEACE PLEA

Like Abe, Erdogan flew 16 hours through the night to get to Buenos Aires so he could personally address the IOC after spending the past few days at the G20 Summit in Russia, discussing the Syrian crisis with other world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

He did not specifically mention Syria or the Taksim Square riots earlier this year in his presentation to the IOC, but said awarding the Games to Istanbul could be a catalyst for change in the Middle East.

“If the Olympic Games are hosted in Turkey, where the majority of the population is Muslim, it will send a message to our whole region, which so needs peace,” Erdogan said.

Just as they had with previous bids, Istanbul leaned heavily on the fact it straddles two continents, Europe and Asia.

The bid team highlighted the country’s surging economy and the government’s commitment to the Games and pledged a crackdown on doping after a recent increase in positive tests by Turkish athletes.

Madrid, once in the running, was eliminated in the first round.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

Bomb squad detonates backpacks left at Marathon finish…

The Boston Marathon finish line has been evacuated and the Copley Square T station has been closed as police investigate a suspicious package, WBZ is reporting.

National

Reddit boosts news capabilities in social media turf…

By Jennifer SabaNEW YORK (Reuters) - Reddit, a website with a retro-'90s look and space-alien mascot that tracks everything from online news to celebrity Q&As,…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

Television

'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…

MLB

MLB video highlights: White Sox beat Red Sox…

Red Sox fall on walk-off error to White Sox

NBA

NBA Draft Lottery day is May 20: Celtics…

NBA Draft Lottery day is Tuesday, May 20: Celtics percentage odds for a top overall pick

MLB

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be…

Opinion: Major League Baseball replay system shouldn't be dumped just yet

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready…

Bruins - Red Wings preview: David Krejci ready to erupt once again in playoffs

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.