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  • IOC Members, Olympic Officials React to Tokyo 2020 Victory


    Tokyo 2020 bid team members celebrate after the IOC's announcement. (ATR)
     (ATR) The Japanese Prime Minister and nearly a dozen IOC members, including presidential candidates, give their thoughts to Around the Rings about Tokyo’s triumph in the race for the 2020 Games.

    The Japanese capital beat out rivals Istanbul and Madrid in Saturday's vote. After Madrid’s first round elimination, Tokyo defeated Istanbul 60 votes to 36 to land the honor of staging the greatest show on earth.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke to ATR in the Hilton Hotel lobby minutes after Tokyo’s win. His powerful speech and reassurances to IOC members about the Fukushima nuclear leak helped push Tokyo over the line.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (ATR)

    “Both Madrid and Istanbul are wonderful cities. But I believe we were able to deliver the spirit of the Olympic Games,” Abe said, adding that he was a very happy man.

    ATR tapped IOC members for their reaction as they flooded into the hotel lobby for liquid refreshments and nibbles after the high drama of the bid presentations and voting.

    IOC President Jacques Rogge. (ATR)
    Jacques Rogge: “I am not sad, I have no regrets.”

    Gerhard Heiberg said: “I had more of less expected Tokyo to win. I thought they had a good presentation and had a lot going for them. They had an emotional presentation and got their message across to the IOC members very well. They did a great job. It will be a wonderful Games.”

    Kevan Gosper said: I think it is a good result. It was a highly contested race. Tokyo has a very good candidature and dhappened to be in the right part of the world. It is a little bit more peaceful out there. It’s a very strong Olympic country and a safe pari of hands. We know they can deliver and have the financial strength to deliver. They can be trusted. Istanbul is in a very difficult part of the world. The bid was well led by an outstanding man. Hasan Arat is on the best bid leaders I have ever met.”

    Prince Faisal said all three bids staged great presentations, saying that the IOC had benefited from three strong candidatures in Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo. “Good luck to Tokyo.” He praised Istanbul for reaching the candidate city stage for the first time in five attempts. “They have already succeeded the bar to get into the final. It is a good achievement.”

    Gunilla Lindberg said: “It [Tokyo’s] is a safe bid and a good bid. It is much better than previous bids, so they have learnt. I think the prime minister was excellent. He was clear [about Fukushima]. He had an excellent straightforward answer. I know some people were worried. His explanation that he will really look into it was a strong message.” Asked if Istanbul should go again: “Of course they should try again. This was a much different bid than previous bids.”

    The IOC unfurled a special banner for Tokyo 2020. (ATR)

    Anita de Frantz said: “It is a good choice. Tokyo is a very strong bid. I could feel them moving when I arrived here,” she said of the momentum behind the Japanese team. Was she surprised that Fukushima didn’t affect the bid: “It wasn’t a factor because they addressed it directly and when the question was asked the prime minister said ‘listen to what I am telling you’”.

    Sam Ramsamy: “In the end everyone talked about Tokyo and they were correct. Any one would have been the right choice, it was a good decision."

    One IOC member said Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah’s support was the tipping point for Tokyo. He was unsure exactly how many votes the sheikh delivered, but said “it was quite an amount.” What helped Ahmad this time was that his involvement was “nice and low key".

    Patrick Hickey, European Olympic Committees president, says he congratulates Tokyo. He says with two cities from Europe in the running for 2020 he had to be neutral and couldn't endorse either Istanbul or Madrid before the vote.

    Philip Craven. (ATR)

    Philip Craven said all three bids would deliver “excellent Paralympics.”, adding: "I’m very happy. I’m very surprised Madrid went out in the first round." What decided his vote? “Sport always does it for me. Tokyo really stepped up to the plate in their presentation." What swayed other IOC members? “It’s that spirit you don’t really read about, you feel it.”

    Muhtar Kent, CEO of TOP sponsor Coca-Cola was present for the bid decision. The Turkish-American was said to have been personally supportive of Istanbul. However a representative for Coca-Cola downplayed that and insisted on the TOP Sponsor’s neutrality. “All three are great markets” they said. Kent also spent time with each of the delegations.

    Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent with the company congratulatory beverages for Tokyo. (ATR)

    Diamil Faye, a Tokyo 2020 consultant, said the city won because of its “clear vision”, even with “so much disturbing information” coming out in the final months of the bid.

    IOC Presidential Candidates

    C.K. Wu tells Around the Rings that all three cities performed well in the bid race: “I think they [Tokyo] are technically very strong. It’s not their first time. IOC members are very familiar. I am sure everything shall be ready.” Asked if the anti-government protests in the summer or Turkey’s recent spate of doping scandals and the ongoing Syria issue contributed to Istanbul’s demise, he said: “Each member makes a decision on different considerations. Istanbul was a very good bid and the presentation was good. They are much improve [from previous bids] and really demonstrated their desire.

    Denis Oswald tells ATR: “It was a very good decision. We go on the safe side after two Games where we have some risks, Sochi and Rio. It is nice to have Games where we are sure the organisers will deliver. It is technically a good bid, very concentrated.”

    Ser Miang Ng commended the losing bids for their tireless efforts, saying all three cities staged exceptional campaigns and presentations. “The race to host the 2020 Games was closely contested from start to finish with all three cities demonstrating excellence and sophistication when it comes to delivering world class bids.

    “I wish congratulate Tokyo on their success and wish them the very best in the seven years ahead. I look forward to a great Games in Tokyo in 2020.”

    Thomas Bach said it was once more a decision between two principles. “There you have one candidature addressing more the sense of tradition and stability and another candidature addresses the longing for new shores. This we have seen in the past also with different bids and this time the IOC members – in a fragile world – have decided in favor of tradition and stability.

    “The specificity of this campaign was that in the end it was not so much about highlighting the strength but addressing properly the weakness. All three bids were excellent bids but all three had an obvious weakness. We will have great games in Tokyo.”

    Reported by Mark Bisson and Ed Hula III.

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