Madrid, Tokyo, Istanbul in home stretch for 2020
- Article by: TALES AZZONI
- Associated Press
- September 6, 2013 - 10:25 AM
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — In the final day of campaigning to host the 2020 Olympics, Madrid promoted its bid Friday as one based on a "responsible budget" that can become the model for future games.
Madrid began the final push by the three cities leading to Saturday's vote by International Olympic Committee members. Tokyo and Istanbul were scheduled for news conferences later in the day.
"We believe that having a responsible budget represents the new way to understand the games," Madrid Mayor Ana Botella said. "We believe that it's a new model to organize the games at a time marked by political and economic turbulence around the world."
Spain's economic struggles, highlighted by a 27 percent unemployment rate, have been seen as the main weakness of Madrid's bid. Tokyo has fending off questions about the radioactive leak in the Fukushima nuclear plant, while Istanbul has had to deal with concerns about the civil war in neighboring Syria.
Madrid officials have been trying to assure IOC members that the economic problems don't pose a significant challenge.
"We are proposing a new model of games which are adjusted to the current times," Botella said. "We believe that having this type of budget is something really good for the future because otherwise there would be many cities in the world which would not be capable of hosting the games."
Madrid is making its third straight attempt to win the bid. It says it has one of the lowest Olympic budgets ever and that 80 percent of venues are in place in a compact layout.
"We are trying to show that our candidacy is adjusting to what the Olympic movement wants," Madrid bid leader Alejandro Blanco said.
Botella said Spain's three layers of government will have to spend a total of $2 billion in the next seven years, "which is perfectly possible knowing that conditions in Spain are beginning to improve."
The 2014 Sochi Games will be the most expensive in Olympic history.
"We have a new model of games which could become the norm in the world that we live now," Botella said.
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