IOC evaluation commission chief Sir Craig Reedie and IOC Games executive director Gilbert Felli at the closing news conference in Istanbul // photo courtesy Istanbul 2020

IOC evaluation commission chief Sir Craig Reedie and IOC Games executive director Gilbert Felli at the closing news conference in Istanbul // photo courtesy Istanbul 2020

Istanbul 2020, Madrid 2020, Tokyo 2020

Fast times for Istanbul’s 2020 bid

ISTANBUL — No one ever said they weren’t anything but smart and clever here.

They knew coming in, because the working group report last spring from the International Olympic Committee said so, that transport issues are — and will be — problematic in a city growing so fast it’s hard to keep up.

IOC evaluation commission and Istanbul 2020 officials checking out the local sports sites // photo courtesy Istanbul 2020

IOC evaluation commission and Istanbul 2020 officials checking out the local sports sites // photo courtesy Istanbul 2020

Istanbul 2020, Madrid 2020, Tokyo 2020

Istanbul 2020′s triple-play up-day

ISTANBUL — Olympic bids are generally an exercise in crisis management. Rarely do you get a triple-play up-day like Istanbul’s 2020 Summer Games campaign engineered Monday.

For starters, the International Olympic Committee’s evaluation commission made public poll results that showed 83 percent of local residents support the Games, 76 percent nationwide.

The president of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, meets the press

The president of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, meets the press

Istanbul 2020, Madrid 2020

Istanbul 2020: James Bond’s new hangout

ISTANBUL — There once was a time, and candidly it was not all that long ago, when if you said, “Turkey,” referring to the country, not Thanksgiving, the reference that not infrequently came to the minds of many might well have been the Oscar-winning movie “Midnight Express,” depicting American Billy Hayes’ time in an infamous Turkish prison, caught trying to smuggle two kilos of hashish at the Istanbul airport.

In some ways, Istanbul now is as it was when Hayes was here. As it ever may be. When the sun rises over the hills, it reveals the beauty of mosques and minarets reaching toward the sky. Several times a day, the cry to prayer still beckons the faithful.

Sir Craig Reedie, left, chairman of the IOC evaluation commission, and Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Games executive director, at the closing news conference // photo courtesy Madrid 2020

Sir Craig Reedie, left, chairman of the IOC evaluation commission, and Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Games executive director, at the closing news conference // photo courtesy Madrid 2020

Madrid 2020

Madrid’s intriguing test: is IOC ready to listen?

MADRID — This is of course a thoroughly developed city, rich in history and culture. Indeed, it is the only major European capital never to have played host to the Games.

By combination of circumstance, economic and otherwise, Madrid’s bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics has put itself more or less at the metaphorical point of the spear.

photo courtesy Madrid 2020

photo courtesy Madrid 2020

Uncategorized

Madrid: Games as hope to city, country that needs it

MADRID — Despite the economic hammering this country has taken, an International Olympic Committee survey indicates 76 percent of local residents want the 2020 Summer Olympics and 81 percent throughout Spain, the Madrid 2020 bid team saying at a Tuesday evening news conference that such figures show the Games offer a measure of hope to a city and country that wants and needs it.

The poll numbers stayed relatively even from from IOC survey results released last May, which showed 78 percent support for the Games in Madrid and the surrounding area. That polling remained consistent, even as the Spanish economy remains mired in recession, Spain’s second in three years, with the nation’s unemployment rate at one in four, is proof indeed of the power of the Olympic spirit, bid leaders asserted.