Fourteen IOC officials are starting their three city tour this week, which will take them from Tokyo to Madrid to Istanbul as they evaluate each city vying to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
The evaluation committee, headed by IOC Vice President Craig Reedie of Britain, will assess each potential host, meet with city and Olympic officials, and inspect possible issues with finances, accommodations, transportation, and security before they create reports they’ll submit to all the IOC members before a vote on September 7.
“The interesting thing about this one is that all three have been candidates before on a number of occasions,” Reedie explained to the AP on Thursday. Istanbul is back for its fifth bid, Madrid is on its third bid in a row, and Tokyo, which hosted in 1964, is bidding for a second consecutive time.
Given the current world economic climate, finances are likely to play a big role in determining which country is best suited to host the Games. Istanbul brings a $19.2 billion budget towards necessary infrastructure, but has a lot to build. While Tokyo has only $4.9 billion budgeted, and Madrid, which is in a deep recession and has a 25 percent unemployment rate, has just $1.9 billion set aside.
Reedie added that the visit by the evaluation committee is often the most important part of the bidding process, and was paramount in the IOC’s decision to award London its third Olympics in 2012.
“It was a seminal moment in terms of encouraging a slightly skeptical British media that this was serious and this was good. If we can do that in Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul, we serve the Olympic movement and the ambitions of these cities.”
British Paralympic champion Josef Craig was disqualified from a race because he didn’t cover up an Olympic rings tattoo on his chest at the IPC European Championships on Sunday.
Craig, 19, was disqualified because of an International Paralympic Committee swimming rule that states, “body advertisements are not allowed in any way whatsoever (this includes tattoos and symbols).”
Craig, who did not have the tattoo when he took gold at London 2012, has since competed at the European Championships with the Olympic rings tattoo covered.
If people attend the Paralympics, which are held weeks after the Olympics at the same venues, they will very often see the Paralympic Agitos logo where the Olympic logo once appeared.
It is visual proof that the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee are separate entities.
At the London Paralympics, American Rudy Garcia-Tolson earned silver in a 200m individual medley with an Olympic rings tattoo visible near his left shoulder-blade.
An IPC spokesperson said the rule pertaining to the Paralympics — which covers all sports — was new going into 2012 and will be fully enforced for the first time in Rio.
MORE: London gymnastics medalist gets elaborate Olympic tattoo
Missy Franklin broke into tears reading a letter to her parents in a mock press conference in a spot for Minute Maid, one of the four-time Olympic champion’s sponsors since turning professional a year ago.
It was filmed in April near her home in Denver.
Franklin has split time training and competing and working with companies including GoPro, Laureus, Minute Maid, Speedo, United Airlines, Visa and Wheaties.
Franklin has said the sponsor commitments will curtail in the middle of May, when she starts a blackout period to focus on training for the U.S. Olympic Trials, which are June 26-July 3 in Omaha and air on NBC Sports.
VIDEO: Franklin revisits ‘biggest sacrifice’ in GoPro series finale