Leaders of Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympics stand in front of IOC headquarters Monday in Lausanne, Switzerland, before submitting bid plans(Photo: Jean-Christophe Bott, AP)
LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Exactly eight months before the vote,
the race for the 2020 Olympics moved into a crucial phase Monday with
the three candidate cities submitting their bid plans to the IOC.
from Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbu were handing over their documents at the
headquarters of the International Olympic Committee, setting the stage
for the final months of a global campaign featuring three cities bidding
again after previous defeats.
Madrid is bidding for a third consecutive time, Tokyo a second time in a row and Istanbul a fifth time overall.
so-called "bid books" run to several hundred pages and represent the
cities' master plan of venues, budgets, financial guarantees, security,
accommodations, transportation and other key aspects of the
The files are to be released publicly by the bid cities Tuesday.
IOC's evaluation commission, headed by Craig Reedie of Great Britain,
will visit the cities in March and prepare a report for IOC members
before a meeting with the bidders in Lausanne in July. The full IOC will
select the host city in a secret ballot in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7.
2020 field initially included six candidates, but Rome dropped out when
the Italian government refused to offer financial support, and the IOC
cut Doha, Qatar, and Baku, Azerbaijan, from the list last year.
is bidding again after failed attempts for the Olympics of 2000, 2004,
2008 and 2012. Madrid is back after finishing third for the 2012 Games
and second for 2016. Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Olympics, finished
third in the voting for 2016.
Tokyo received the highest praise in
an IOC technical report last year that said the Japanese bid presents
"a very strong application." Madrid has a "strong application," while
Istanbul's project "offers good potential," the report said.
bookmakers list Tokyo as the favorite, Istanbul holds the advantage of
representing a new destination for the Olympics, a key factor in recent
host city votes.
The IOC is taking the 2014 Winter Games to the
Russian city of Sochi, the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro and the 2018
Winter Games to Pyeongchang, South Korea.
All three bids for 2020 face geopolitical and economic challenges.
is in the throes of its second recession in just over three years, with
its economy battered by a collapse in the real estate sector and
unemployment as high as 25%. Madrid bid leaders said the Olympics could
serve as a catalyst for economic recovery.
Japanese leaders have
said hosting the Olympics in Tokyo would serve as a symbol of recovery
from the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Japan has also been
in a nasty dispute with China over a cluster of disputed islands in the
East China Sea and has just undergone a change in government that
brought Shinzo Abe to power as prime minister.
meanwhile, is seeking the Olympics at a time when Turkey is in conflict
with Syria. Turkey is a former ally of Syria, but turned against
President Bashar Assad's regime over its violent crackdown on dissent in
the nearly two-year civil war that has left 60,000 dead. Turkey is
supporting the Syrian opposition and rebels and is providing shelter to
some 150,000 refugees.