2008 Bid City Candidates React

Beijing pledges a fair and friendly contest; Toronto calls itself a “word-class city”; Osaka says “the real battle has yet to begin”; Paris calls it a first step and Istanbul “is really happy”.

The final five bid cities reacted differently on hearing they were selected to be candidate cities for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Beijing”s bid secretary-general Wang Wei said “it is just the beginning of a harder campaign. We must step up our effort and try to gain the initiative in the next stage”. He Zhenliang, the Chinese member of the IOC executive board conceded that “when you are the front runner at the beginning, you don’t feel at ease”.

Osaka Mayor Takafumi Isomura said “the real battle has yet to being. I feel Osaka has made an excellent bid. What we have to do now is catch our breath and move forward”.

Istanbul was bitter at its elimination from contentiion for the last two Games before the voting even started. Now Yalcin Aksoy, general director of Turkey’s National Olympic Committee said “we are really happy to be in the place that we deserve because we remember the injustice against Istanbul in the 2004 selection”.

Toronto’s bid President and CEO John Bitove said the new IOC procedure had levelled the playing field for bidders. He said “the days of awarding on a smoke and mirrors plan to any city are over”.

And French Sports Minister Marie-George Buffet said Paris, rated highly for its experience of hosting major events and for its infrastructure, had proved with the 1998 soccer World Cup that France is ready for the challenge. “It’s a first step” she said. “Now we have to follow through”.


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