Chicago 2016 chairman Patrick Ryan. Chicago Starts Countdown to Copenhagen
Chicago 2016 will distribute countdown clocks around the city the morning of October 2 as part of efforts to build enthusiasm for the final year in the campaign for the Games.
Bid chair Patrick Ryan will meet at midday with the consul general for Denmark to present him with a countdown clock.
“We feel properly motivated, properly challenged,” Ryan
tells Around the Rings.
“We understand the complexity and degree of hard work that’s needed in the next year,” says Ryan.
The work includes seemingly unending international travel. He and other bid leaders head to Acapulco next week for the Pan American Sports Organization general assembly where the four cities will make their first international presentations.
“We’re in deep preparation for that as we speak,” says Ryan.
“Chicago will be a city that wants to welcome the world,” Ryan says is the message he hopes to convey in the weeks ahead as the bid meets with Olympic leaders from around the globe.
Ryan, executive chairman of the financial and insurance services giant AON, admits a bit of nervousness over the turmoil in the financial sector, but says the Chicago bid will not be affected.
“We’re fortunate in that we’re privately funded,” he says. Chicago has pledges from the private sector to cover the $50 million or more the bid may spend by the time of the vote next Oct. 2.
Chicagoans can probably be excused for not paying a lot of attention to this one year mark to the Olympics vote. The sports preoccupation of the moment is the appearance of both of the city’s Major League Baseball teams in the playoffs to reach the World Series. It’s never happened in more than 100 years.
“It’s a good omen,” says Ryan, who then remembers Chicago’s good fortune to be selected as one of the four finalists in race for the 2016 Olympics.
“We’re in the playoffs, too,” he says. Madrid Bid Looks to Build Momentum
Mercedes Coghen, CEO of Madrid 2016, tells ATR that the bid team is in positive mood at the one-year-to-go mark.
Mercedes Coghen of Madrid 2016. (ATR)
“I'm happy with progress, I'm an optimistic person,” she says, admitting that her team must work even harder in the time that remains before the IOC vote.
“We have to fulfill lots of things,” she says. “We are trying to put in place some of the recommendations made in Athens [in an IOC evaluation report].”
She says bid officials learnt a great deal from their experience at the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, while their participation in the upcoming Beijing debriefing in London will also aid preparation of the Spanish capital's bid book.
Over the next year, Madrid 2016 will step up its international campaigning alongside its three rivals at events around the world - including next month's Sport for All Congress in Malaysia - while seeking to grow public support at home.
Bid executives will meet shortly with the national federations of the summer Olympic sports to present more details on their venue projects and plans.
Coghen admits that one of the biggest challenges in the coming year is gaining access to as many IOC members as possible within the IOC's strict guidelines.
Madrid 2016 officials met about 100 IOC members during the Beijing Games and Coghen is looking forward to further opportunities to put forward a persuasive case for Madrid to host the Games.
Next year's June summit, when the four cities will present their bids to IOC members in Lausanne, is seen as a crucial period in the campaign. The IOC Evaluation Commission visit to Madrid in May or June is another key milestone.
The global financial crisis presents other challenges. This week Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon froze public spending on infrastructure projects in the next year in response to the credit crunch.
But Coghen says the decision will “in no way” affect projects needed for an Olympics, emphasizing that with 70 per cent of venues in place there is no big spend necessary on costly constructions.
“We are very conscious about the [mayor's] statement and we are trying to keep all our projects to the bid budget we have in place,” she says.
The tough economic climate will not alter Madrid' bid strategy, she says, although common sense is needed on the road ahead to Oct. 2, 2009.
Rio de Janeiro bid leader and IOC member Carlos Nuzman and Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva are flanked by Olympians and Paralympians in Brasilia Oct. 1. (Rio 2016)
savings have already been found in reducing travel expenses for the bid team, she explains. And next year's Madrid Sports Day is likely to be smaller than the inaugural sports festival held over the summer, although this scaling back is not directly influenced by the financial crisis. Rio de Janeiro
President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva marked one year to the Copenhagen vote by hosting Brazil’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes to Brasilia.
Lula spoke about his experience attending the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics. He said the event “gave me the certainty that we have the ability to host the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro”.
Lula said the Olympics would bring the benefits of sport to youth and education.
On Oct. 2, Rio de Janeiro governor Sergio Cabral will host a commemorative lunch for the Rio 2016 leadership at the official residence, Palacio das Laranjeiras. The governor will be accompanied by a group of children from state schools selected because of their involvement with various sport development programs.
Mayor Cesar Maia will visit one of Rio de Janeiro’s eight so-called “Olympic Villages”. The villages are sport development centers for young Cariocas.
Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the Rio bid and the Brazilian Olympic Committee says “these events illustrate the commitment that three levels of government have to the Rio2016 bid and to Olympic values”.
Nuzman, also an IOC member, heads
Ichiro Kono is president of the Tokyo 2016 bid. (ATR)
to Acapulco in a few days where he serves on the Executive Committee of PASO. Nuzman has been active with PASO for years and may have the closest links of any 2016 bid leader to movers and shakers in the organization. Tokyo Confident in Strong Games Plan
Tokyo 2016 chair Ichiro Kono says he is proud of his team's achievements to date and believes the Japanese bid is on the right track one year out from the IOC vote on the Olympic host city.
"Over the next year the Japanese passion for Tokyo 2016 - which is growing every day - and the strong Games plan that we are producing will carry us towards our ultimate gold medal: the right to host the greatest event in the world - the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” he tells Around the Rings.
To mark the one year countdown to Oct. 2, 2009, Tokyo stages a bid day event on Thursday. This will include speeches by Governor Ishihara and Olympic Gold medalists, and demonstrations of public support for the bid.
A press conference with Professor Shinichi Takemura, a member of Tokyo 2016 Grand Design Team, and Dr Kono will take place to share more insights on the Olympic vision.
Kono says that his team has worked tirelessly to develop a unique concept for Tokyo 2016 since the start of the bid with the athlete's needs at the heart of the Games plan.
Since being selected as a candidate city in June, Tokyo has expanded its activities by promoting the bid internationally. The campaign theme “Uniting Our Worlds”, launched in Beijing, will gain further headlines at forthcoming events.
"My Tokyo 2016 colleagues and I will be presenting our ideas to the world at three continental meetings of National Olympic Committees this fall on top of many other sport-related conferences,” he says.
“But most importantly, we will be working on finalizing our candidate city file for submission to the IOC in February 2009.”
Asked about the global financial crisis, he notes Tokyo 2016's concern but says “the finances for our bid are all in place and therefore there is no negative impact on the Tokyo 2016 project.”
“The Olympic Games represent an outstanding opportunity for Japan to boost economic growth and we therefore perceive it as a wise investment which fits with the needs and the sustainable development project of the biggest city in the world,” he says.
“The financial stability of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Federal Government as well as the wide diversity of our private sector should also ensure that should Tokyo secure the right to host the Games, there will be no financial issues.”
Kono says Tokyo Metropolitan Government's budget “offers all the necessary sustainable and financial guarantees required to host a successful and unique Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.”
“Tokyo 2016 also benefits from the strong support of the Japanese government represented by former Olympian and new Prime Minister Taro Aso.
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