Potential 2020 Olympics hosts make their pitches

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All three cities vying to host the 2020 Summer Olympics – Tokyo, Madrid, and Istanbul – made pitches to international sports officials Thursday at the SportAccord conference in St. Petersburg.

And with each nation returning as a bidder after failing during the last few Olympics cycles, the cities were quick to promote strengths while explaining how they’ve overcome weaknesses that kept them from hosting in the past.

Spanish Secretary of State for Trade Jaime Garcia-Legaz was on hand for Madrid’s bid to help downplay the country’s economic concerns and explain how their steady growth over the next five years, coupled with the low price tag for their Olympics, makes them an ideal 2020 host.

“The fundamentals of the Spanish economy are strong and deep.” Garcia-Legaz said.

Turkey promoted itself as a once emerging nation that has finally emerged, and that can bridge the gap between European and Asian continents, literally and figuratively, with the Bosphorus Bridge.

“We have a city that bridges light and shade, old and new, east and west,” Sports and Youth Minister Suat Kilic said. “Istanbul shines like a diamond. Turkey has totally transformed since our last bid. We are ready to step onto the global stage and welcome the world as we have for millennia but now, to a new Turkey.”

Meanwhile, Tokyo defended itself as the safe option for the 2020 Games, while also continuing to promote themselves that way with a low price tag due to the fact that many venues are already built.

“I understand that many people are saying that our bid is the ‘safe’ option in this campaign,” Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose said. “What I don’t understand is why some people seem to think that this could be a bad thing… our finances offer the strongest foundations to host the games.”

Tokyo has set their budget for the Games at $4.5 billion, compared to the relatively low $1.9 billion for Madrid, and the astronomical $19 billion for Istanbul, which will be focused on the transportation infrastructure of the city. The IOC evaluation commission will send out a report regarding the three bids on June 25, and then the cities will make pitches to IOC members on July 3 at the headquarter in Lausanne before the final vote this September in Buenos Aires.