Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy seemed pretty confident in Madrid’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics, as IOC’s evaluation commission arrived in the country’s captial Monday for a four-day inspection of the potential host city.
Prime Minster Rajoy reminded everyone that while people might be scared of the economic situation plaguing Spain, including Europe’s worst unemployment numbers, Madrid is accustomed to hosting large events and “has a great advantage: 80 percent of the sports facilities needed to hold an Olympic Games are already built.”
The Spanish Olympic Committee believes they bring the most “realistic” bid the table, with an estimated Games budget of less than $2 billion, which is half of Tokyo’s $4.5 billion, and nowhere near Istanbul’s $19 billion.
The SOC also has strong support from its citizens, as a new poll shows that 83 percent of Madrid, and 76 percent of Spain, believe the Games will have a positive impact on the country’s current situation.
Evaluators will spend the next four days looking at already standing venues, as well as finances and security to see if Spain has what it takes to host their first Olympics since the Barcelona Games in 1992.
Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova will miss the Russian Championships later this month and will likely sit out this whole season but still hopes to defend her title in Pyeongchang, according to R-Sport.
Earlier this year, Sotnikova stopped preseason training due to a health issue, decided not to compete but rather perform in less-demanding ice shows this fall, according to the report, citing her manager.
Sotnikova, 20, last competed at the 2015 Russian Championships, finishing sixth and failing to make the three-woman Russian team for last season’s European and world championships.
She did not compete in major events in the 2014-15 season due to injury and in 2015-16 skated at one top-level international event, finishing third at the November 2015 Rostelecom Cup in Moscow.
In Sochi, Sotnikova became the first Olympic women’s figure skating champion without a prior Olympic or world championships individual medal.
Russian women’s figure skating has only solidified in Sotnikova’s absence since Sochi, complicating her path to making the 2018 Olympic team.
Yevgenia Medvedeva and Anna Pogorilaya were the two best female skaters this fall. Yelena Radionova and Maria Sotskova will join them in the six-skater Grand Prix Final this week.
Russia can send three women to the European Championships in January and world championships in March. The results of the Russian Championships later this month will largely determine the makeup of those teams.
MORE: Javier Fernandez builds to last Olympic chance
Tokyo 2020 venues for the new Olympic sports of baseball, softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were approved by the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday.
That brings the total number of Tokyo 2020 venues to 39, with the potential for more.
The venues for new sports:
Baseball/softball — Yokohama Stadium (20 miles south of Tokyo)
Karate — Nippon Budokan
Skateboarding and Sport Climbing — Aomi Urban Sports Venue
Surfing — Tsurigasaki Beach
All of the new sports do not currently have a spot on the Olympic program beyond 2020 (baseball and softball were previously on the Olympic program before being taken off after Beijing 2008).
Agenda 2020 reforms allowed Olympic host cities to propose the addition of sports for their Games only, which is what Tokyo 2020 did to get them on the program.
The Tokyo Olympic venues are split between two zones — the Heritage Zone and the Tokyo Bay Zone — that are separated by the Olympic Village.
Tokyo 2020 and FIFA are still discussing the finalization of soccer venues. There are currently six, including two in Tokyo and one as far away as Sapporo (650 miles north).
Tokyo 2020 and the World Baseball Softball Confederation are still discussing the potential of adding a second baseball-softball venue in Fukushima prefecture, the site of 2011 nuclear plant meltdowns caused by an earthquake and tsunami. Fukushima is about 150 miles north of Tokyo.
The Tokyo Dome, home of the Yomiuri Giants and several MLB and World Baseball Classic games, is not a 2020 Olympic venue.
MORE: Tokyo 2020 Olympic volleyball venue could be moved