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IOC Likes Beijing, Paris, Toronto

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (djc) — Toronto’s plan for hosting the 2008 Olympic Games is good enough to make the cut to the final three, but Beijing is still considered the front-runner. The International Olympic Committee rated Beijing, Toronto and Paris as offering “excellent bids” to stage the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Osaka, Japan, and Istanbul, Turkey, were ruled out as potential hosts. “In dealing with the bids from Paris, Toronto and Beijing, the commission unanimously believes that these three cities are all able to organize an excellent Olympic Games in 2008.”

The report is not expected to affect Beijing’s front-runner status. The 2008 host city will be chosen by the IOC in Moscow on July 13.

Conclusions of the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation report on the five cities bidding for the 2008 Summer Games:

Osaka, Japan

This is a city driven bid. A combination of excellent venues and a proven ability within the country to organize major multi-sport events would provide a good basis for the hosting of an Olympic Games. Potential transport congestion is a consideration. Concerns exist about the financial implications for the city of the scale of the infrastructure and games project, making delivery of the games plans more difficult. The commission is not confident that this issue could be satisfactorily addressed.

Paris

This is a city and national Olympic committee (NOC) bid with strong government support. The use of existing facilities mainly in the center of one of the world’s most recognized cities presents the Olympic Movement with an attractive option. New facilities and an innovative approach to some temporary facilities enhance the project. Paris, having chosen a theme of “Games within a City,” is faced with a complex urban Olympic Village site. While the commission is aware that there are several elements of the village planning to be resolved, it is confident that this would be achieved and that Paris would stage an excellent games.

Toronto

The bid is driven by the NOC and all levels of government, which offer strong support. It also contains a large element of private sector involvement. The compact sports concept based on a unique site adjacent to the city center with good transport links and a legacy to sport make the bid very attractive. The major challenge is the capacity of the combined private sector and government alliance to deliver the waterfront sports venues and village developments. However, the commission is confident that this could be achieved and that Toronto would stage an excellent games.

Beijing

This is a government driven bid with considerable assistance of the NOC. The combination of a good sports concept with complete government support results in a high quality bid. The commission notes the process and pace of change taking place in China and Beijing and the possible challenges caused by population and economic growth in the period leading up to 2008 but is confident that these challenges can be met. There is an environmental challenge but the strong government actions and investment in this area should resolve this and improve the city. It is the commission’s belief that a Beijing Games would leave a unique legacy to China and to sport and the commission is confident that Beijing could organize an excellent games.

Istanbul, Turkey

This is a bid driven by the NOC and based on the country’s unique Olympic Law, which provides finance for the development of sport and facilities, particularly in Istanbul. The commission believes that there are uncertainties regarding the overall status and projections of games finance. The time lines and costs for all necessary transport infrastructure could be difficult to achieve and these would be essential for the conduct of a successful games. The situation is not helped by the current economic conditions. Despite the presence of some major new facilities, the commission is not confident that the complex planning required for a games has been fully addressed.

Final Comment

The commission has rated three bids as excellent. In these three bids, it has identified only minor deficiencies which, in its view, would be resolved before 2008 by an efficient games organization.

In dealing with the bids from Paris, Toronto and Beijing, the commission is clear that none of them presents any particular major risk. The commission unanimously believes that these three cities are all able to organize an excellent Olympic Games in 2008.

www.to-2008.com
www.olympics.org

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