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This is an archived article published in July 2003 Updated article on 2012 Olympics
Nine cities bid to host
the 2012 Summer Olympics

By Patrick Ewe, Special Projects Editor

The nine cities bidding:
Leipzig | London | New York | Madrid | Moscow | Paris | Havana | Rio de Janeiro | Istanbul

Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008. Which city will be host to the summer Olympic Games and Paralympics in 2012? The Games are no longer just an international sporting pageant celebrating the brotherhood of man, but a highly commercial billion dollar show. Around 200 nations compete. Some 16,000 athletes and officials take part, watched by half a million spectators. Billions more view the spectacle on television. The cost of playing host to the 2012 event is estimated at more than US$3 billion. Despite this, nine of the world’s most influential cities are queuing up for the job even though the long drawn out bidding process is both costly and competitive. The victor will be declared on 6 July 2005.

The Selection Process
After the 15 July 2003 closing date a shortlist of candidates will be declared in June 2004. Following visits to each bidding city, the winner will be announced in Singapore on 6 July 2005. The bidding process alone is estimated to cost each city between $15m and $20m.

Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig, London, Madrid, Moscow, New York, Paris and Rio de Janeiro make up the illustrious line-up before the IOC. Toronto was expected to bid but pulled out as Vancouver succeeded in its bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics.

IOC president Jacques Rogge will lead the executive board of 14 members. Since the scandal of Salt Lake City, where it was discovered $100m worth of ‘gifts’ had been received by IOC members, regulations are now tighter than ever. Only the executive board will visit the cities concerned and they and only they will be in direct contact with them, during the bidding process. The other 111 IOC members will select their host city based on the presentations of the candidates and the executive board’s findings. The winning city must therefore convince the majority of IOC members - 64 - that it would be the best venue for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The cities will be judged on these standards:
• Motivation and Concept
• Political and Public Support
• General Infrastructure
• Sports Infrastructure
• Logistics and Experience
• Financing

The effects on host cities
Sydney in 2000 spent $3.4 billion on the Olympics while Athens 2004 will cost no less than nine billion euro, some estimating 13 billion euro. Even with these huge costs, profits have been made, and are possible. But there are so many conflicting reports it is difficult to be accurate. Because of the many and varying costs, and the “multiplier effect”, the financial knock-on of a city hosting the event, it is extremely difficult to calculate the financial merits, or otherwise, of any particular Olympic Games.

The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, according to several reports, made $200 million profit from a mixture of private funding, greater commercialisation and the use of existing facilities. Atlanta 1996 tried to repeat this technique but was far less successful. Sydney 2000 went 100 per cent over budget. But the compensation lay in the euphoria of being dubbed “the best games ever” with earnings from tourism going up by over £2 billion the following year. The long-term effects, however, were stunted. A weak world economy, the September 11 attacks in the United States and the collapse of the domestic airline, Ansett Australia, resulting in losses of around a$2 billion in domestic tourism over the past year and up to 12,000 job losses, all took their toll.
The UK sports minister, Richard Caborn, who is backing London’s bid, conceded the difficulties. "There's no profit legacy," he said. What there will be, he believes, is national pride and a feel-good factor. "People think it's important. The bid itself causes momentum."

While the tax-payers of Montreal are still paying for the $1 billion dollar loss of the 1976 Olympics, Barcelona and Seoul have benefited greatly. Cities such as Lillehammer, Norway, and Nagano, Japan have enjoyed worldwide attention by hosting the winter Olympics.

Without doubt the Mayors of hosting cities obviously realise that such a spectacle will stimulate and justify local development. Decisions tend to be made quickly on an Olympic deadline. Barcelona estimated that within eight years it had built infrastructure that would normally have taken 50 years.

Former Mayor of Barcelona, Pasqual Maragall, saw the Games as "a pretext", explaining: “You’ve got to use it to produce change; otherwise it is a lost opportunity”. Mr Maragall used The Games to implement an ambitious, wide-ranging renewal plan that transformed its decaying industrial fabric into the seaside city now immensely popular with tourists.

Pre-Olympics 1991, Barcelona airport handled 2.9 million passengers. In 2002 that figure had risen to 21 million. Many Mayors see the Olympics in similar strategic terms, providing opportunities to gain inexpensive or free international media exposure. Even the act of submitting a bid to the IOC gains this valuable publicity, particularly for smaller cities such as Leipzig.

Local residents seldom benefit from the profits. In fact displacing people is an almost accepted part of the Games. In Seoul, Atlanta, Sydney and Salt Lake City thousands of poorer families were displaced from their low income homes to make way for the influx of visitors. The same is happening on a massive scale in Beijing. With the Olympics as a focal point, local issues often struggle to gain any attention.

The spoils of victory are controversial. But these cities are willing to take the gamble:

This city in the former East Germany beat the more illustrious cities of Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Stuttgart to become Germany’s representative. Leipzig has the full backing of the government. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said the Federal Government would bring to bear every means at its disposal to help make the 2012 bid a success.

He said: “The aim is to see to it that we lay on in Germany a celebration of the Olympic Games which lives up to the Olympic ideal and serves as an example of the welcome offered to the world by our country, which loves being host to the youth of the world".

The political significance of an East German city being chosen has been noted by Jacques Rogge, IOC President. He has also stated that he would like the grandeur of the Games and its cost to be reduced. This favours the smaller Leipzig.

Recently though controversy arose. Days before the IOC Seminar in early October, bid managing director Dirk Thärichen resigned following accusations he had volunteered for the former East German secret police. German newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung said “Dirk Thärichen has played a decisive role in the success of Leipzig’s Olympic bid”. A new head is to be unveiled on 19th November.

Following the IOC Seminar held in October Leipzig was still confident. German NOC President Dr. Klaus Steinbach said “I look forward to the next steps in the bid process and the submission of the IOC Questionnaire on 15th January 2004 with great confidence."

Mayor Wolfgang Tiefensee said he was proud to be Germany’s candidate. “Leipzigers believe in another miracle. We shall become one big Olympic village.” Leipzig most certainly does require a miracle to ward off the urban giants. But at least it has made a name for itself in simply being one of the candidates.

London has held two Olympic Games, in 1908 and 1948. It made a successful bid for the proposed 1944 Games which in the event were cancelled because of the continuing war. Then in 1948 a war devastated London was credited with keeping the Games alive by holding them under short notice after the war ended in 1945. Since then Britain has attempted to host the Olympics Games on three occasions. Manchester for the 2000 and 1996 Games and Birmingham for the 1992 Games. London’s bid for 2012 is its first since 1948.

London hesitated over its announcement while the government, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and the British Olympic Association jointly worked out whether or not a bid was logistically and financially viable. Later Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, announced that the government would "pull out all the stops" to help London's 2012 bid. Prime Minister Tony Blair supported that view. "We have always been strong supporters of the Olympic movement. We are one of only three countries to send teams to every modern summer and winter games, yet we have not hosted them in over 50 years,'' he added.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone, fully behind the bid, said he was "only interested in winning and securing the deal for London". Barbara Cassani has been appointed as the chairman of London’s bid. Mrs Cassani is an American business woman who has lived in London for 14 years.

After a slow start London bid's executive is now almost complete. Mrs Cassani has proceeded to utilise her business links, recruiting Keith Mills the founder of Air Miles as chief executive. In addition Mike Lee, currently in charge of communication at European football’s governing body UEFA, has been appointed as Director of Communications. Mrs Cassani said: “Mike’s understanding and experience of the media, government and sport at local, national and international levels made him a natural choice for this role.”

Familiar sporting figures have also been added to the board in rowers Sir Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent. Lord Sebastian Coe, politician and former Olympian distance runner, is the vice chairman.

According to preliminary estimates hosting the Olympic Games would cost £2.6 billion (US$1.6bn). It will obviously require an Olympic stadium. A warm-up track and an athletes' village will also have to be built, probably in Stratford, a run-down part of east London. An Olympic-sized pool would be another obvious necessity. Football could be played at a rebuilt Wembley Stadium, tennis at Wimbledon, gymnastics at the Millennium Dome, beach volleyball at Regents Park and rowing on the Thames.

The question of infrastructure is one of the toughest facing London. As Jacques Rogge himself stated at the IOC seminar “it is hard to find the balance in terms of providing all the things needed to host the Games, whilst at the same time avoiding unnecessary costs which might be a burden to the city. But I would ask you to work with us on this."

London with much of its infrastructure - both sporting and general - not in place, will have to present a convincing case to the IOC. The question is whether that body will consider the presentation too ambitious and too much of a risk, particularly in light of Athens struggling to be ready for 2004.

New York
Every competing nation could probably rightly claim to have some of its people living as residents in New York’s huge universal population. The US has a great influence both commercially and athletically on the games because it is the world’s most successful Olympic nation. It will be difficult for the IOC to ignore totally the September 11 attacks, as they claim they will.

New York’s bid has a projected cost of $3.2 billion, including a $1.2bn 86,000-seat Olympic stadium on the west side of midtown Manhattan. Boxing in Madison Square Garden and triathlon in Central Park is certainly alluring, and as the Olympics have become more commercialised this would certainly make them more marketable. This, however, could be the city’s undoing. Atlanta 1996, dubbed the ‘Coca Cola Games’, was funded privately and the IOC was not happy with their hosting. Its president at the time, Juan Antonio Samaranch, did not even sign the Games off with his customary “best games ever” line.

New York’s sheer density may count against it because the many events have to be spread out. New York, though, is claiming that the Games will be more compact than any of the last five. All but three sports will take place within New York City itself. The plan is to create an Olympic village opposite the UN building in Queens as the centre of 'an axis of events'. Ferries will transport athletes north and south, along the Harlem and East rivers, and an exclusive Olympic Rail system will transport athletes east to west.

Many have written New York off since Vancouver won the right to hold the 2010 Winter Olympics. Many feel that the IOC would not choose another North American candidate to host the following Olympic Games.

This is not stopping New York though, it recently announced that 14 advertising executives will free of charge create a multi-media marketing campaign. The aim is for the campaign to start in early 2004 and to run nationally and eventually internationally, gaining financial support and creating Olympic spirit among New York companies and residents.

Though Spain held the Games in Barcelona in 1992, Madrid is one of the few capitals of a major European country never to have held them. Madrid's bid was voted by 157 delegates against 103 for Seville by Spain’s Olympic committee. Madrid was Spain’s representative in 1972. Seville has made a bid for the 2004 and 2008 Games.

Madrid has the largest infrastructure in Europe for amateur sports. There are 46 sports centres within the city and most of them are open all year round with facilities for over 70 different sports. Currently the city is improving facilities for elite sports. In recent times it has staged the Tennis Masters, the Athletics World Cup and the Karate World Championships.

Madrid is also home to one of football’s most famous stadiums, The Bernabeu, which would be the centre-piece. Assisting Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon in the promotion will be Raul, one of Spain’s best known footballers.

Madrid’s chief executive Feliciano Mayoral is one executive with a sporting background. He is a former top sportsman having represented Spain in Volleyball. He was president of the Spanish volleyball federation between 1984 and 1987 and since in varying capacities has been involved within the Spanish Olympic Committee. Mayoral had been closely involved since February 2001 as Managing Director of the Madrid 2012 Executive Office.

Mayor Ruiz Gallardon’s attitude has been bullish, claiming that Paris, and London in particular, only seriously considered bidding because of the presence of Madrid. He has made no secret of his desire to bring the Games to Madrid, his election manifesto was full of commitments to pour millions of euros into infrastructure. The Mayor stated that 90 per cent of its venues would be completed by 2006.

He has also played heavily on the fact that Madrid has never held the Games and reminds us that the IOC have in the past always shown preference for a city which has never hosted the Games. That might be the case, but because Barcelona held the Games in 1992 this might be to Madrid’s detriment.

Yuri Luzhkov, Mayor of Moscow, has always maintained: “Sport is my passion”. He says: “A Mayor’s work demands total physical and emotional involvement. That’s why it is necessary to be in good shape. I play football and tennis and in winter I do mountain skiing.” Interestingly, Mr Luzhkov is also a close friend of IOC Honorary President Juan Antonio Samaranch. Mr Samaranch was Spain’s Ambassador to Russia between 1975 and 1980.

The 1980 Olympics in Moscow, boycotted by the United States and some other countries over the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, are still remembered by some in the Olympic movement. Nevertheless, Jacques Rogge has declared that Moscow’s bid is “very serious”. Russia lacks extensive experience in hosting international sporting events of this magnitude but at least it now has the stadiums.

The 83,000 capacity Luzhniki Olympic stadium and the new Lokomotiv soccer stadium are both complete. There are plans to build several more to meet the requirements of all sports federations.

Sailing events could be held in St. Petersburg or in the great reservoir outside Moscow. The bid includes the building of enough new hotels to double the number of beds by 2010.

Mayor Luzhkov has shown both confidence and realism. "We can confidently say that Moscow is one of the most advanced cities in the world when it comes to sport.'' He also stressed: “Moscow is ready for the toughest competition in the race to host the Olympics. It would not be shameful to lose such a tough contest in the top league of the world's richest countries, but it would definitely be shameful not to take part in the contest.”

But there are some serious worries. Mayor Luzhkov admitted that he was waiting for confirmation of financial backing from the government and conceded that the only man in Russia who had refused to support Moscow’s bid was the country’s finance minister. Other difficulties are Moscow’s endemic crime, the battling Chechen separatists and terrorism. The optimistic Mayor, however, insists that these security problems can be solved.

Undoubtedly he is truly passionate over the Games and knowledgeable about them. That is precisely what Moscow’s bid requires, and it is an admirable one. But there may be too much fear of insecurity for the comfort of IOC members. This will be emphasised when comparisons are made with the sheer quality and quantity of other bidding cities.

Bertrand Delanoe, the Mayor of Paris, hesitated before announcing the French bid. No doubt there were humiliating memories of the manner in which they lost the proposal for 2008. Paris had made bids for the 1992 and 2008 Games but it was beaten by Barcelona and Beijing respectively. The IOC was said to have perceived the 2008 bid as arrogant. Paris took the view that it could do more for the Olympics rather than the other way round. Consequently in the first round of voting Paris came fourth out of five, a shocking blow for a city with such great expectations. Both Mayor Delanoe and the officials and politicians of Paris have recovered, learnt their lesson and earnestly plan to bring the Games to Paris. If the city succeeds it will be the first time since 1924 that the Olympics have been held there.

Mayor Delanoe has certainly taken heed of the IOC. He announced: “They will not be a Games of vanity, waste or showing-off. They will be Games of performance, efficiency and humility, dedicated to the entire world.” The French Minister of Sports, Jean-Francois Lamour, whole heartedly agreed. He said the bid was backed by President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. “French sports reflect the values of the Olympics,” he said.

Paris was out of the blocks fastest. It intends to spend more than any other city on their campaign - 30m euro - and have their logo - “Paris 2012, des jeux de toutes couleurs”, the multicoloured games, aimed at capturing Third World votes.

Paris is forging ahead with this multi-ethnic ideal, pointing to their successful multi-ethnic football team and the eminence of other athletes from varying racial origins. The 1998 and 2000 World Footballer of the Year, Zinedine Zidane, is being used as a key promoter.

France has considerable experience of hosting international sporting events, using Paris as the centre-piece. The famous 1998 Football World Cup was held there and the Athletics World Championships were held in 2003 and the 2007 Rugby Union World Cup will also take place in the French capital. The Stade de France, an 80,000 capacity stadium and one of the city’s focal points, is up and working, unlike the planned stadiums of other bidding cities. It also has a direct train connection to the centre of Paris. The majority of sporting facilities, and transport infrastructure, are already present to meet the needs of both competitors and the hordes of spectators.

But what is not in place is the Olympic Village. Land close to the Stade de France, set aside in anticipation of the 2008 Games, was sold to property developers. A new proposed site is much farther away on derelict railway land north of the Gare St Lazare.

It will be interesting to see how the IOC reacts to the repeat bid. The 2008 attempt might still prey on the minds of some members. On the other hand there may be a positive reaction over France’s stance on Iraq combined with respect for another committed bid with full political and public support. In June 2004 the IOC will announce its first indications when the shortlist is drawn up.

Cuba has a proud athletic tradition and has President Fidel Castro’s unequivocal support. The Caribbean has a great track and field heritage and having the event there would add vibrancy to the Games. The President of the Cuban Olympic Committee Jose Ramon Fernandez recently told a Havana newspaper: "We are still candidates. We have reason to be optimistic and we have many attributes to take into the battle." Mr Fernandez said: “Havana will apply in the name of those small, poor countries that excel in sports and have a desire to stage a modest and dignified Games.”

At a recent press conference Mr Fernandez dwelt on Cuba’s sports achievements and existing facilities, and commented: “We have called for an objective unit of measurement, so that the IOC decision is not guided by the number of facilities or the inhabitants in any city, but by achievements in the field of sports.”

Mr Fernandez also said that Havana would hold an “austere and organised Games giving priority to the athletes rather than the sponsors".

Havana recently played host to the World Fencing Championships but were criticized by athletes, officials and the media.
The vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach was surprised by the low attendance and said he would have wished for more spectators.

This is particularly relevant since one of Jacques Rogge key points addressed at the IOC seminar was the care of athletes. "The Games are for the athletes and, as such, should be centred around their needs", he explained. "This means ensuring quality venues, facilities and people."

The motivation and support for the Olympics appears to be present but the infrastructure simply is not. Anti-US sentiment is evident. This is not helpful because of the US TV networks which fund many of the IOC’s activities. Cuba has become politically isolated and realistically it is hard to imagine Havana gaining the necessary support to make the shortlist.
No Website

Rio de Janeiro
The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) left their candidature until the last minute, but in the end Rio de Janeiro was selected ahead of Sao Paulo, the country’s biggest city, to be Brazil’s representative. The vote was 23-10, with one abstention, in Rio's favour.

No South American country has ever held the Games. This is the city’s second bid after being Brazil’s candidate for the 2004 Olympics. It is to be host to the Pan-American Games 2007.

Spending for the Pan-American Games has already begun. The city’s Mayor, Cesar Maia, announced plans to spend $300m, including seven new sports facilities and an athletes' village in the fashionable beach district of Barra da Tijuca. Rio's bid committee said the Olympic Games would require investment of $1.6 billion, plus $3.1 billion more for infrastructure in this sprawling city, with a metropolitan area population of about 10 million.
Brazil is likely to host the Football World Cup in 2014. The famous Maracana stadium, built for the 1950 Football World Cup, should be used for some Olympic events, including football.

The city is known in Brazil as the Marvellous City for its natural beauty that includes sandy beaches, green mountains and breathtaking vistas. Despite its fame for such attractions as the lavish annual Carnival parades, that draw hordes of tourists, Rio is also notorious for its rampant crime and utter misery in teeming shanty-towns. Murder rates in the city are among the highest in the world.

Mayor Maia dismissed fears of crime saying that the Olympic village and several venues would be concentrated within a small area. He added: “It will be safer than in any other place in the world.”

Recent high profile events have gone without a hitch. Crime experts believe that massive security plans implemented for the Olympics should be sufficient to prevent serious crime or violence. A Latin American country hosting the Olympics would certainly appeal to IOC members, but 2012 might be too early.
No Olympic website yet.

Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, has been chosen as the country’s candidate to host the Olympic Games 2012. This will follow three unsuccessful attempts to host the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Games. Turkish officials say they are in better shape this time round. Togay Bayatli, head of Turkey’s National Olympic Committee, said: “We think Istanbul has the best facilities at the moment among the bidding cities."

Turkey has reportedly allocated 584 hectares of land for an Olympic village and is constructing an indoor athletics arena to seat 22,000 people, which officials say could be ready as early as next year.

An 80,000-seat stadium for the 2008 Games bid was finished last year. It has been sitting empty because of a shortage of roads leading to it. The Turkish Olympic Committee and Istanbul football club Galatasary signed an agreement for the team to rent the stadium as plans start to build a new venue.

Despite three previous efforts the city’s bid still faces key obstacles. There is concern over finance, uncertainty about accomodation and wariness of the dense traffic in this city of 10 million people.

Yalcin Aksoy, who directed previous bids, said this: “We have sufficient revenues and have total support from the government. Turkey has already spent more than $200 million over the past 11 years for the Games."

The bidding committee says their primary motivation of hosting the Games is to revolutionise the life experience of Turkish youth. They back this up with the assertion that 86 per cent of the Turkish public support Istanbul’s bid. The location is emphasised for the broadcasting benefits. The bidding committee also says that “Istanbul is the historic capital of three empires, the city where East meets West and where religions, languages and peoples merge in peaceful co-existence”.

The IOC will certainly have covered much of this ground previously, and it will be noted in Istanbul that the city has never gained a podium finish after the final round of voting.

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