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
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…