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  • Out of Many, Few Will Bid: The Candidates for 2020 Olympics


    (ATR) The race for the 2020 Summer Games will soon take shape, the deadline to apply with the IOC just months away.

    The application window runs from May to September. The outcome of the race for the 2018 Winter Olympics, to be decided by the vote of the IOC on July 6 at the session in Durban, South Africa, will be one of the factors that could affect which cities actually bid for 2020.


    Italy: Rome is the only city so far to formally declare its candidacy for 2020. IOC vice president Mario Pescante heads the bid, and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi promises full government support. The 1960 host city lost to Athens 2004in 1997 in its attempt at a second Summer Games.

    South Africa: IOC president Jacques Rogge famously called for a South African bid at the close of last year’s World Cup. After a suspect nomination process in which only Durban had the chance to apply, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg have since joined the fray. Expect only a single candidate by the time the IOC comes to town.
    After the March 11 earthquake and tsumani, either city would face a long road ahead should Japan choose to bid. (Getty Images)

    DEPENDS ON 2018

    Japan: The Japanese Olympic Committee insists bid plans are still alive after the triple-blow dealt Tokyo by the March 11 earthquake, subsequent tsunami and ongoing nuclear emergency. The JOC is waiting until mid-July to pick between Tokyo and Hiroshima for three reasons. Gubernatorial elections in April could impact government support, the NOC will celebrate its centennial July 16 and, of course, a PyeongChang win for 2018 would likely end consideration for either bid. Experience gleaned from Tokyo’s failed 2016 run should help Japan’s cause; losing both IOC members to mandatory retirement this year should not.

    France: Sport minister Chantal Jouanno expects France to vie for 2020 if, and only if, Annecy misses out on 2018. She declined to single out any candidate cities but insisted her country's next Olympic bid would not get a late start like Annecy did this time around. Paris hosted in 1900 and 1924 but campaigned unsuccessfully in 1992, 2008 and 2012.

    Spain: Madrid hopes its third time is the charm after falling short for 2012 and 2016. The Spanish capital awaits the outcome of mayoral elections in July as well as the decision in Durban. Should a European city win the 2018 race, 2024 is the likelier bet for a bid from Madrid.
    Busan wants the Olympics after staging the 2002 Asian Games, but PyeongChang could get in the way. (Getty Images)

    South Korea: Seoul hosted the Games in 1988, but Busan wants the honor this time around. The South Korean port city staged the 2002 Asian Games, an event in some ways as complex as the Olympics. A Busan bid hinges entirely on the fate of PyeongChang in the race for 2018.

    Portugal: Lisbon may try for 2020 after passing on 2016. Portugal paired with Spain for its failed 2018 FIFA World Cup bid but will have to fly solo with the IOC. 2024 seems a likelier bet should Annecy or Munich win the 2018 Winter Games.


    India: Many predicted last year’s Commonwealth Games would be a stepping stone to 2020. Then the spotlight arrived, and so too did allegations of shoddy construction, graft and financial mismanagement. India’s NOC is still debating with its government whether to pursue an Olympic-sized follow-up to Delhi 2010.
    Moncef Belkhayat says "the sky is the limit” for sport in Morocco. (ATR)

    Morocco: Expect a bid from Casablanca in 2020, 2024 or 2028, says Moroccan sport minister Moncef Belkhayat. His pronouncement came March 19 at the closing gala for CISA, the African International Sports Convention, and was the first time he publicly espoused a bid from the North African country. With the deadline to apply for 2020 just months away, his Olympic vision is likely to be a dream deferred.

    Middle East: Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha all want to stage the Middle East’s first Olympic Games. It’s doubtful Doha will bid for 2020 with Qatar’s World Cup just two years away. Dubai is the likelier candidate from UAE despite the city’s current credit crunch.

    Turkey: The government will decide after a June 12 general election whether to pursue the 2020 Olympics or European soccer finals. Though not a Middle East city, Istanbul would be the first host from a Muslim country. The ancient Byzantine capital bid for the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics but sat the 2016 race out.
    The Olympic Stadium will sit on a reclaimed oil field in Baku. (Office of Contemporary Architecture)

    Azerbaijan: Baku is building an Olympic Stadium atop a former oil field as the centerpiece of a 2020 bid. Azerbaijan also campaigned for 2016 but did not advance past the applicant stage, in part due to its lack of a showcase stadium. At the time, its construction was merely a proposal and the oil field had yet to be reclaimed.

    Russia: St. Petersburg’s governor has eyes for 2020 or 2024, but Russia’s NOC has yet to commit. A bid would likely get the backing of Vladimir Putin, a native of St. Petersburg and Sochi 2014 devotee. Nearby Moscow hosted the Summer Olympics in 1980 but lost out to London in 2012.


    Hungary: Public opinion is strong for a bid from Budapest, but financial support lags. The country's taxpayers would likely have to cover almost all the $16 billion needed in Olympic works, according to one Hungarian media report. Budapesti Olimpiai Mozgalom is an NGO formed to investigate the feasibility of a Budapest Summer Games.

    Canada: The Canadian Olympic Committee plans to bid for either 2020 or 2024 and thinks Toronto is long overdue. The Ontario capital fell short in 1996 and 2008 and hasn’t hosted a major international sporting event since the 1976 Summer Paralympics (the 1976 Summer Games were held in Montreal). The Toronto 2015 Pan Ams should help the city’s cause, as should the success of Vancouver 2010.
    Anti-government protestors in Tahrir Square helped force the Feb. 11 resignation of longtime Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Whether a bid will follow the revolution remains to be seen. (Getty Images)

    Egypt: The president of the Egyptian Olympic Committee called for a bid from Cairo in December during the NOC’s centennial celebrations. Rogge was in attendance then and reiterated his long-held desire to bring the Olympics to Africa. In the wake of January’s revolution, 2020 may prove too soon, as least for the Egyptian capital.

    Australia: It’s Brisbane’s turn to bid after Melbourne hosted in 1956 and Sydney in 2000. The Queensland capital finished third in the race for 1992 and has its sights set on 2020, 2024 or 2028. Brisbane is also pushing for a World Expo in 2020 to coincide with a potential Summer Games.


    May 16 – IOC will invite NOCs to nominate applicant cities

    July 6 – IOC members will vote for a 2018 host in Durban, South Africa

    July-August – In a first for any bidding contest, the IOC will ask for NOCs to submit letters regarding compliance with the World Anti-doping Agency code by July 29. Also unprecedented, IOC will request submission of proposed dates if countries want to stage the Games outside the normal period set by the IOC (July 15 to August 31). The IOC will respond to NOCs on these points by the end of August.

    Sept. 1 – Applicant city nominations are due from NOCs
    Durban staged a share of last year’s World Cup and will host this summer’s IOC session. Could the 2020 Olympics be next? (Getty Images)

    October – IOC will hold an information seminar for 2020 applicants

    Feb. 15, 2012 – Application files and guarantee letters are due to the IOC

    May 2012 – IOC Executive Board will decide on candidate cities

    January 2013 – Bid dossiers are due to the IOC

    Spring 2013 – IOC Evaluation Commission will visit 2020 candidate cities

    Sept. 7, 2013 – IOC members will vote for a 2020 host in Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Written by Matthew Grayson.

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