POSTED: October 22nd 2009

2020 Olympic vision fuels new bid dreams in Italy, Africa and Japan

Danny Jordaan: wants World Cup momentum carried forward / lake images
Danny Jordaan: wants World Cup momentum carried forward / lake images

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON: The 2020 Olympic Games are threatening to prove the most popular in the movement’s history – at least as far as bidding interest is concerned. The high visibility of the 2016 process which saw Rio de Janeiro outbid Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo has whetted enthusiasm elsewhere around the world.

Further encouragement to more imaginative bidders has been generated by the International Olympic Committee’s opening of the door to innovation by heading to South America for the first time.

Madrid’s repeated failure has encouraged interest among various Italian cities in bringing the Games back to Europe, Japanese enthusiasm has not been eradicated by Tokyo’s failure and South Africa wants to build on the momentum created by next year’s hosting of football’s World Cup.

Within a week of the Copenhagen vote for Rio, Italian interest had been expressed by city and regional politicians and officials in both Rome and Venice. Now Filippo Grassia, president of the Olympic committee of Milan, has proposed his city.

Grassia said: “The hosting of Expo 2015 will provide significant infrastructure and we would still have five years to sort out whatever else would be needed.” Grassia would need, however, to work hard on persuasion since opponents to the proposal include the city’s sport and recreation director Alan Rizzi.

Jordaan message

South African interest in an eventual Olympic bid has been expressed at various times by Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg. Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the 2010 World Cup, offered encouragement after a meeting in New York with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The IOC's 2011 session will be held in Durban, and Jordaan believes that could serve as a springboard. He said: “The IOC decided to give South America its first Olympics so the only continent now without an Olympics is Africa and therefore I think it's something that the IOC certainly will have to begin to think about."

The latest Japanese considerations have come from the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the two cities obliterated by atomic bombs at the end of the second world war. The two mayors have been encouraged by the political message emanating from the admission of the IOC to observer status at the United Nations earlier this week.

Tadatoshi Akiba of Hiroshima and Tomihisa Taue of Nagasaki have said they believe a unique joint hosting of the summer Games in their cities would complement perfectly the IOC’s wish to champion its values in the creation of a peaceful society - as well as move world opinion toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The Olympic Charter states that only one city can host the Olympics but the mayors believe this can be overcome through the practical impossibility – wherever the Games are officially hosted – of staging every event - sailing as one example - within the designated city locality.

Keywords · IOC · 2020 Olympic Games · Milan · Venice · Cape Town · Durban · Johannesburg · Hiroshima · Nagasaki

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