2016 Bid Cities, Seven Sports – Crucial Week

The four cities bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and the seven sports hoping for inclusion in the 2016 Games will plea their cases before members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week in Lausanne, Switzerland. The four bid cities are Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

On Wednesday the bid city presentations will be made while Thursday informal individual meetings with members take place. According to The Associated Press it’s the first time the IOC has arranged such a forum for bid cities. The final presentations take place on the day of the vote – October 2 – in Copenhagen.

IOC President Jacques Rogge said at least 94 of 107 IOC members will be there. He told The Associated Press, “for the members, it’s the opportunity to get a presentation without the frills. There will be no heads of states, no flashy videos, no presentation of fancy athletes. We can enter into more detailed questions”.

He added, “I think it’s going to be a very close call, a little bit like Singapore”, referring to the 2005 vote in which London edged ahead of Paris in the final round for the 2012 Summer Games.

The 2016 bid cities will have 45-minute presentations followed by 45 minutes of questions and answers. The following day the board members can visit the bid teams in their hotel suites.

Chicago bid leader Pat Ryan told The Associated Press, “it’s the first time they will be really focused on the race. It will be a chance to get a much more informed voter”.

Rogge said it’s important for all cities to offer financial assurances and guarantees during a time of global recession.

Chicago is the only bid city that does not rely on federal government funding. Ryan said, “we’ll address that very directly. We’re proud of what we’ve got. We will show the financial strength of the bid and the market place”.

Chicago 2016 plans to remind the IOC of U.S. President Barack Obama’s support for Chicago’s bid.

On Monday the seven sports vying for inclusion in the 2016 Games will compete for two spots on the 2016 program. Golf, rugby sevens, softball, baseball squash, roller sports and karate will make 45-minute presentations to the IOC Executive Board, followed by a question-and-answer session.

The Associated Press reports the 15-member executive board will meet in Berlin August 13-14 to choose two sports among the seven to submit for ratification by the full membership in Copenhagen.

A senior Olympic official with direct knowledge of the findings told The Associated Press that golf and rugby sevens have received the highest reviews from the panel.

Rogge said, “it’s a very open race. There are supporters of all seven sports both inside and outside the EB (executive board). I can say any of the seven would be good in the Olympic program”. He said the IOC is looking beyond the individual merits of each sport.

“We are looking for an added value – wide appeal, especially for young people, universality, whether infrastructure is costly or not. And first and foremost, there must be a big fight against doping. This is a very important aspect.

“We also are looking to see if the sport or two sports fit well into the puzzle of the Olympic program. Do they bring something extra to the cohesion of the Olympic program?”