Gondola vision for the 2020 Olympics
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT / Sports Features Communications
ROME: Olympic water sports on the Grand Canal or beneath the Bridge of Sighs? That is the fanciful dream after speculation that Italy may promote Venice as a prospective host city to the Olympics and Paralympics.
Rome is also being considered as a possible contender for an Italian hosting after the Games focus shifted to 2020 after last Friday’s IOC assignment of 2016 to Rio de Janeiro.
The last time Italy hosted the Games was 1960 in Rome and a statement from the Veneto regional governor’s office said: “Rome has already had its turn.” The statement added: “The concept is already in our minds and we are confident we could organise a Games worthy of the Olympic movement.”
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said that he thought Venice a more preferable choice. However Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno responded by saying that Olympic organisational considerations would be included in a strategic redevelopment plan for the capital which is expected to be published in December.
Alemanno, who took office in April last year, said the Games could be centred around a redeveloped area comprising the Foro Italico, Flaminia, Cassia and Acqacetosa. Completion of a new airport at Fiumicino is scheduled for 2024 but, Alemanno thought, could be accelerated to 2020.
The Stadio Olimpico, which was rebuilt for the 1960 Games, is the home for Serie A football clubs Roma and Lazio. Its future use could be influenced significantly by the outcome of both clubs' interest in moving out to soccer-specific stadia of their own. Roma and Lazio are both concerned by the financial and commercial limitations of playing in a municipally-owned venue.
** Shintaro Ishihara, governor of Tokyo, said on his return from Copenhagen – where the Japanese city lost out to Rio for 2016 – that he wept “for the first time in my life that I can remember” on the return home. Ishihara put Tokyo’s failure down to political manoeuvring.
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