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September 3, 2009

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No clear frontrunner for 2016

THE four bid cities competing to host the 2016 summer Olympics are locked in a tight race with no clear frontrunner emerging from the International Olympic Committee's evaluation report released yesterday.
Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Chicago and Madrid are bidding to win the nod to host the 2016 Games. The IOC will elect the winning bid on October 2 at its session in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The IOC's 13-member evaluation commission conducted on-site inspections in April and May and its report is the final document regarding the bids before the IOC session elects the winner next month.
Chicago scored points with its compact plan, with most venues within eight kilometers from the city center, which will require "minimum travel times for athletes and other client groups", according to the report. Its centrally-located lakefront Olympic village was also a winner.
Transport, however, especially the need to double peak commuter traffic for the rail system during Games time, was seen as a challenge, as was the failure to "provide a full guarantee covering a potential shortfall of the organizing committee, as requested by the IOC."
Tokyo, which hosted the Games in 1964, won praise for its US$3.7 billion fund it has already set up and its compact Games plan backed by an efficient public transport system.
The Japanese capital's "relatively low" public support for the 2016 Games was a concern. The need to construct some venues that were initially listed as existing was another point of concern for the IOC.
Highest support
Madrid, which had also bid for the 2012 Games, enjoys the highest support among all bid cities, with 84.9 percent of the capital's residents backing the bid, according to the IOC's own poll.
It also already has 23 of 33 venues needed but the IOC expressed concern over a lack of "clear delineation" regarding the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders and their financial support.
Rio's bid to become the first South American city to host the Olympics scored well with its wider regeneration plan supporting the Games preparation
Its shortage of necessary hotel rooms and the use of cruise ships was a challenge as was security, the IOC said.
"We are delighted that the report reflects the fact that our bid is based on the long-term planning and development of Brazil with full finance and guarantees," IOC member and president of the Rio 2016 bid Carlos Nuzman said in a statement.


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