Crunch Time For 2016 Bid Cities

It’s crunch time for the four cities – Chicago, Madrid, Rio and Tokyo – bidding to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, and representatives of the four countries involved are making sure the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is aware of their support.

Japan’s new prime minister sent a letter to IOC members assuring them that government support for Tokyo’s bid “remains as strong as ever”, reports the Associated Press.

In his letter Yukio Hatoyama reportedly reassures IOC members of his personal support and his government’s backing for Tokyo’s bid. He said in the letter dated Sept. 20, “however I would like to offer you my fullest assurance that Japan’s commitment to the Olympic Movement and to Tokyo’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games remains as strong as ever”.

Although Japanese organizers have urged the new president to attend the vote in Copenhagen, he made no commitment. He wrote, “I strongly hope that I will have the opportunity of meeting with you at some point in the future”.

He promised Tokyo would provide “optimal conditions” for athletes and said Japan would “take all the necessary measures to ensure an environmentally responsible and sustainable” games.

U.S. President Barack Obama also has not committed to attending the vote in Copenhagen but he wrote a letter to the IOC earlier this month promising that the United States would “welcome the world with open arms” if Chicago is selected. In the letter dated September 10 addressed to individual members Obama wrote, “the City of Chicago is designed to host global celebrations and it will deliver a spectacular Olympic experience for one and all”.

Spanish King Juan Carlos said he was going to Copenhagen to head Madrid’s delegation at a time “that will, I am sure, become part of my country’s history”. According to the Associated Press, Juan Carlos said Spain was behind the bid “now more than ever” after the city’s failed candidacy for the 2016 Games, which was awarded to London.

He wrote in his letter to the IOC dated August 11, “in 2016 Madrid aspires to organize Olympic and Paralympic Games that will leave an enduring legacy for the Olympic Movement. We all strongly believe that Madrid represents the best option at this time.

“Madrid is a great capital, which has multicultural traditions and a long, rich history. The city, thanks to the Games, will show itself to the world as an example for future generations of peaceful coexistence and integration”.

Meanwhile the Chicago Tribune reports Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Tuesday that Rio de Janeiro, has great beaches, doesn’t have terrorists and according to Forbes it is the happiest city in the world. Those attributes make Rio de Janeiro the best candidate to win the 2016 Olympics….

Silva will be in Copenhagen next week and during a news conference he said that he had planned for the last two years to go to Copenhagen and had studied London’s strategy when it won the 2012 Games. He said Rio’s team will fight to win over the votes from whichever city finishes last in the first round of balloting.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Silva said, “Rio needs to have its first opportunity. It’s not a competition that can be only for the rich or high society”.