Two-time fencing silver medalist Yuki Ota (far left) and the Tokyo 2020 bid team

2020 Bid Cities

2020: playing the safe card

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Tokyo 2020’s Yuki Ota, a two-time silver medalist in fencing, bounded across the stage and said to the crowd, with enormous energy and enthusiasm, “It is great to be back in St. Petersburg,” where he had competed in 2007. Everyone laughed, and he had them from there as he said, “I can promise that Tokyo 2020 will see your sports shine.”

A few moments later, Jaime García-Legaz, at the lectern for Madrid 2020, tackled the pink elephant in the room head-on — the Spanish economy. His nation’s minister of commerce and international trade, García-Legaz noted that the International Monetary Fund and others project “steady” economic growth for Spain in the next five years, adding, “The fundamentals of the Spanish economy are strong and deep.”

IOC president Jacques Rogge, IOC executive board member C.K. Wu and Chinese dignitaries immediately after unveiling the Samaranch statue in front of the museum


The Samaranch legacy — still “amazing”

TIANJIN, China — The past, present and future of the International Olympic Committee intersected here Sunday in this northern China port city of 13 million people.

Exactly three years to the day after he passed away, the Juan Antonio Samaranch Memorial Museum was dedicated, its 16,578 pieces on rich display to tell the story of the former IOC president’s unparalleled impact on the modern Olympic movement.

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


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.