Istanbul 2020 Officials said Wednesday that the recent violent protests in their nation will have “no bearing” on whether or not Istanbul is chosen to host the 2020 Olympics when IOC members meet for a final vote in Buenos Aires this September.
“The feedback Istanbul 2020 has received from IOC members and the wider Olympic family continues to be positive and very understanding,” Officials told the AP. “While they are obviously as keen as we are for a swift and peaceful resolution, the majority of people we have spoken to recognize that 2020 is still seven years away.”
The protests come amid Turkey’s fifth bid to host the Summer Games in the last six Olympic cycles, dating back to 1996. As one of only three finalists, this is already their best showing after finishing fourth in the vote to host the 2008 Games that were eventually awarded to Beijing, and finishing fifth for the 2000 Games, which were hosted by Sydney.
Istanbul’s price tag of $19 billion is astronomical compared to Tokyo’s $4.5 billion and Madrid’s $1.9 billion, but Turkey is focusing its pitch on improving transportation to “Bridge Together” two continents, figuratively – of course – but also literally by way of the Bosphorus, which connects Europe and Asia.
And so, officials wish to focus on the idea of unity, rather than on the protests:
“This is a bid for the people of Turkey and we are united by our passion to bring the Games here for the first time. Istanbul 2020, and the 20-year dream of the Turkish people, will not be affected by the events.”
Turkey is also set to host the Under-20 soccer World Cup starting later this month, and FIFA officials have said that the tournament will go on as scheduled.
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.
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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.
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