A source close to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said that the 2020 Olympic bid Evaluation Commission (EC) may return to the bid cities later this month or in May. The 14-member team led by Sir Craig Reedie from Britain just completed consecutive four-day site visits to Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul – the three cities vying to host the 2020 Olympics.
The EC returned to Lausanne from Istanbul Thursday.
“[The team] is working on the evaluation report and they have one or two more questions they’d like to ask,” an unofficial spokesperson said on condition of anonymity.
The evaluation report is a key document to be used by the IOC members when they decide which city to elect in September at the organization’s session in Buenos Aires. IOC members not on the EC are forbidden from visiting the cities in person for fact-finding purposes.
“[IOC Executive Director Gilbert] Felli thinks he forgot to say goodbye to Tokyo’s Governor [Naoke Inose], so naturally he’ll want to correct that too,” the source said.
Flights are now being coordinated hoping that the return visits will happen within a month.
“Claudia wants to return to Atakoy Dome in Istanbul, she thinks she can improve her free-throw average after she was less-than-impressive at an impromptu practice with Turkey’s Paralympic basketball team last week,” he said of IOC member Claudia Bokel.
“And Sir Craig accidently left his honorary Real Madrid team Jersey at the Eurostars Madrid hotel. The hotel staff can’t find it but he thinks he knows where it is.”
The initial trips included meetings and presentations to cover the 14 themes of the bid books, and physical site inspections of the various proposed venues. The team was also entertained and received at galas from national leaders. The three trips culminated with fireworks on the last evening in Istanbul.
Tokyo reportedly spent $6.4 million to host the IOC’s business trip. It must be noted, however, that according to the IOC rules, the commission must cover its own expenses.
“They don’t mean to impose,” the IOC source said, “but they really want to get this thing right.”
“[Head of bid city relations] Jacqueline Barrett wrote ‘basketball’ in the Las Ventas Bullring column in her notes and she’s thinking ‘that can’t be right’.
“And they all want to go back to a great little sushi place they found in Tokyo.”
Typically, the team makes only one visit during the campaign, but this time the race is very close and they believe that they need to be extra diligent.
“[The evaluation team] said that the bids don’t need to go out of their way this time; they don’t need the kids welcoming them at the airport and it’s okay if the banners along the streets, highways and at the airports are already down.
“If necessary, they can just stay at the Marriot.”
The evaluation report needs to be completed before a meeting of IOC members scheduled in Lausanne at the beginning of July, so there is much time to waste.
“This time, they’ll only stay two days tops, so it shouldn’t cause much of a problem.”
A complete visit schedule is due to be released next week.
[Editor’s note: Did you need a second look? Following our annual GamesBids.com tradition, this article was an April Fool’s Day joke. We hope you enjoyed it!]