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  • Bidding - Bach Talks 2020, German Olympic Ambitions; Madrid Confident in Campaign


    (ATR) IOC vice president Thomas Bach tells Around the Rings each of the 2020 Olympic bids has challenges and insists there is no frontrunner at this stage of the contest.
    IOC vice president Thomas Bach with FINA president Julio Maglione in Moscow. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)

    “I think it’s too early to tell. Each of them has their own challenges. But each of them has great potential,” the German told ATR in Moscow, where he is attending the FINA World Aquatics Convention.

    “Right now, to say somebody would be a frontrunner or out of the race is way too early,” he said.

    Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo are the cities vying for the 2020 Games.

    “We have three really strong competitive bids. The IOC is in a very comfortable position,” Bach added.

    He dismissed the notion that Madrid’s status was in doubt due to Spain’s ongoing financial crisis.

    “Each of the bids has challenges,” he reiterated. “Therefore, it will depend in the end how each of the bids will address these challenges and convince the [IOC] members.

    Speaking of the hurdles the 2020 candidate cities must overcome, he added: “We should always bear in mind we are talking now about a decision seven years ahead [the IOC vote is in September 2013]. In these seven years the world can and will change.”

    Germany Mulls Olympic Bid

    Bach told ATR that Germany was undecided on whether to make a bid for the 2022 or 2024 Olympics.

    After Munich’s failure to land the 2018 Winter Games, there has been much headscratching among government and sports leaders over the country’s next bid.

    Bach said elections in Bavaria and the federal parliament in September could be followed by a referendum in November on a Munich 2022 bid.

    But an attempt to secure the 2024 Summer Olympics was another option, the German NOC chief explained.

    “This is another reason why we will take the decision only next year because there is some interest in Berlin and Hamburg for a summer Olympic bid,” he said.

    “We keep this open in order to find out which bid may be the better one. We also need to know what would happen with the 2020 decision. After these elections and [IOC] decision, we will know much more.”

    Madrid 2020 Leader: “We are Confident”

    Spanish Olympic Committee leader Alejandro Blanco tells Around the Rings that a third consecutive bid from Madrid could be the “magic number”.
    Alejandro Blanco at the World Aquatics Convention. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)

    Despite Spain’s collapsing economy, Blanco claimed the bid could mirror the achievements of PyeongChang; the Korean city’s persistence paid off when its third Winter Olympic bid landed the 2018 Games.

    “Three is the magic number to get the goal,” said the Madrid 2020 bid president, half-serious, half-joking when asked if the third time could prove lucky for Madrid following failed bids for the 2012 and 2016 Games.

    Speaking to ATR in Moscow, Blanco said winning the Olympics would help to revive Spain’s severe economic problems.

    He hit out at commentators and world leaders repeatedly using Madrid as an example of Europe’s Eurozone crisis, suggesting other countries were also suffering similarly.

    “The economic situation is bad not only in Spain,” he said. “We cannot think that the situation now is not good for having the Games in 2020.”

    Amid the financial gloom engulfing Madrid 2020, Blanco cast aside the assertion that the city might yet have to withdraw from the 2020 bidding contest due.

    With 100 national and local companies backing the bid and 50,000 commercial enterprises expected to throw their support behind it in the coming two weeks, he indicated that the bid was in good shape.

    “I am completely confident we will arrive on Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires in the same condition as Istanbul and Tokyo,” he said.

    Blanco underlined the influential role Spain’s IOC Executive Board member Juan Antonio Samaranch, Jr. would play in the Madrid bid campaign over the next 10 months.

    “He is very important, for his capacity [on the EB] and knowledge,” Blanco said, adding that Spain’s other IOC members were also key members of the team.

    “We are confident we are going to do a great job to get the Games.”

    Blanco emphasized that the Madrid 2020 bid was stronger than the 2016 pitch to the IOC.

    “We started a path in view of the 2012 Games. From the beginning, the investment was done for building infrastructure,” Blanco said, noting that Madrid had already built nearly 80 percent of venues and infrastructure needed for the 2020 Games.

    “We have a real desire to get the Games and every day is a step to reach the final goal.”

    Reported in Moscow by Mark Bisson

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