2020 Olympics: Tokyo's to Lose?
Image Credit: Flickr (d'n'c)

2020 Olympics: Tokyo's to Lose?


The race to host the 2020 Olympics is in full stride now with Tokyo still in the driver's seat.

Along with rivals Istanbul and Madrid, the Japanese capital submitted its bid book to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week.

The weighty tome explains the technical aspects of the bid in the smallest detail and how the respective cities plan to handle the logistical aspects of the Games – transport, venues, accommodations, security and a whole host of other considerations.

Tokyo is looking good. According to British bookmaker William Hill, the city is the 4-6 favorite, with Istanbul at 5-2 and Madrid at 3-1.

David Stevens, who works for Coral, another of the many British bookmakers, explained why: "Tokyo appears to have several advantages over its two rival cities – many of the potential venues are built, and after London and Rio, many will feel Asia deserves its turn to host the Olympics."

These three are standing after three have been cut from the field. Rome dropped out following the decision from the Italian government not to offer financial support while Doha and Baku were forcibly removed by the IOC.

There are still eight months to go until the decision is made by the IOC in Buenos Aires.

While Madrid is suffering from the struggling Spanish economy and is offering something of an austerity games, the city did finish third in its bid for 2012 and second for 2016 and there could be a sympathy vote.

Istanbul also has thrown its hat into the ring after unsuccessful attempts to host the 2000 and the three games after that. With a promise of a spectacular opening ceremony to take place on the Bosphorus, the river that divides Asia and Europe, Turkey offers a new and exciting region for the Olympic movement to target as the city’s bid leader, Hasan Arat said.

"If the IOC awards the Games to Istanbul, in the morning you could watch the beach volleyball in Asia, in the afternoon the rugby in Europe and in the evening you can join a celebration across the continents on the banks of the Bosphorus. There is a unique opportunity for a compact, intercontinental concept."

That is perhaps the biggest threat to Tokyo.  Europe and South America took the 2012 and 2016 games but Beijing 2008 is still fresh in many minds. Another trip to East Asia may not be what some IOC members want especially as Tokyo has hosted the games before, back in 1964.

Istanbul is an intriguing destination and if the IOC are feeling adventurous, it will be a dangerous rival. After all, Qatar overwhelmingly won the 2022 World Cup bid despite the United States and Australia being tipped to fight it out between themselves.

Perhaps that is why the Tokyo team is presenting itself as a safe and reliable choice for the IOC in the field of an uncertain economic situation in Europe.

Masato Mizuno, the CEO of Tokyo’s bid noted, "We have a long-term dream to host the Olympic Games, now in this situation we like to stress that Tokyo 2020 is a safe pair of hands, and much more, and we will bring together the dynamic innovation and the global inspiration in the heart of one of the most forward-thinking and exciting, safe cities."

March 31, 2013 at 06:16

You are not Japan and you do not care about the Olympics. You are Turkey's enemy only.

tokyo 2020 the best
March 17, 2013 at 20:59

sotchi is in europe and very close to turkey ! 

turkey have war with kurdistan and syria , they have lots ethnicals problems with kurdish and armenians and all christians ! is a religious country not laic ! they dont recognize armenian genocide and they are friends with dictators countries like azerbaijan! we already have greece 2004 london 2012 sotchi 2014 so why turkey should have games ??? look at japan and then turkey , then will see that turkey is really a bad choice 

TOKYO 2020!!!


March 17, 2013 at 00:55

Disagree completely.  Tokyo is has better infrastructure, and direct flights from all major international cities – a HUGE plus.  The prior hosting is completely irrelevent as it would be over 50 years in the past.    Tokyo's position is only strengthened after Rio followups, which is causing great fear over crime, cleanliness, and economic woes that have not been solved out there.  Setting up another trap is not what the IOC wants if they want the games to continue to draw a worldwide audience.  Tokyo's the safer choice.  Rio was already the risk taker and it's gone awry.



Sports Fest
March 13, 2013 at 05:16

Sochi is in Europe, not Asia – look at a map!

In every sense of the word, Sochi is geographically/physically; culturally; historically; politically; and ethnically European.

March 12, 2013 at 04:08

The History of İstanbul

İstanbul is one of the world's most ancient cities, a place of rich identity and countless interlocking histories. Over thousands of years, it has been home to great civilisations and a fusion of cultures, from the Megarians to the Spartans, the Romans to the Greeks, and the Arabs to the Turks. As the capital of the Ottoman Empire, İstanbul's hands reached across Europe, Asia and Africa, weaving together the threads that define these continents and making it a cultural, intellectual and diplomatic hub.

Despite İstanbul's rapid modernisation, its history remains in the fabric of its people's lives. The city's architecture was shaped by the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, with diverse Christian and Islamic influences. It is a city whose history still lives and breathes.

The Bosphorus and the Golden Horn provide the stunning natural canvas that lies beneath every truly iconic city. The strait leads visitors into the Old City, where İstanbul's past comes vividly to life. The legendary bazaar draws visitors into its labyrinth, embracing them in the essence of the city. Gloriously smelling spices, the call to prayer and the fusion of eastern and western foods excite the senses. From the depths of the Basilica Cistern to the tip of the Blue Mosque minarets, İstanbul teems with hidden charms waiting to be explored.

Beyoğlu, on the city's European side, brings the city to life in a different way. Here, İstanbul boasts an array of entertainment: trendy bars, high-class restaurants, theatres and boutique shopping. These all play their part in the infectious vibrancy that flows through the streets, flooding the atmosphere with the colourful sounds of music and good company late into the night. İstanbul is a 24-hour living city with a buzz and a chic that thrusts its history and tradition firmly into the New World spotlight.

As a physical and metaphorical bridge between Europe and Asia, İstanbul stands alone in its blending of culture and religion. It is the city where two worlds are unified in the most positive of ways, at once brilliantly energetic and harmonious. İstanbul is not just a cosmopolitan city: it is a truly international city where the vast array of races, religions, histories and cultures coexist and combine in a spirit of harmony and tolerance.


January 24, 2013 at 20:45

Nope, Sochi is considered to be in Europe, because it is after Vancouver 2010, in North America. Otherwise, why would the Olympic Committee give the 2018 Games to Pyeoungchang, South Korea, also in Asia?

TV Monitor
January 16, 2013 at 02:58

Sochi is considered a part of Asia, not Europe.
So no two games to same region back to back rule was not violated with Sochi 2014.

January 14, 2013 at 06:41

I agree with your accessment here. Besides, Turkey has been bidding for Olympics 4 straight times in a row, and it actually has prior experience holding other heavy-weight international sporting events. That plus the fact that Istanbul is a city sitting acorss 2 continents (Europe and Asia), that the promise of a spectacular opening ceremony to take place on the Bosphorus, and that it will be the first time an Olympics would be held in a Turkic and Islamic country. On the other hand, Tokyo has hosted an Olympics before, and it only garners a 66% approval rate from its public (vs. 87% in Istanbul). If you factor in the earth quake and fukushima, I say Istanbul probably has the Olympics pretty safe in its pocket.

January 13, 2013 at 02:15

What a ridiculous comment. The 2012 and 2014 games will take place in the same continent; so did the 2004 and 2006 games – incidentally all four in Europe, a much less populous and frankly much less strategically important continent than Asia nowadays…

Istanbul might ultimately win, but fact is they have it all to do at this stage – not the other way around.

TV Monitor
January 12, 2013 at 07:53

Tokyo is highly unlikely because Tokyo 2020 would take place just two years after PyeongChang 2018; and the IOC does not award two games to the same region back to back.
In reality, Istanbul has the 2020 games in the bag.

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