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Race for the 2016 Games
Four candidates rush to the finish line
Beom-seok Sohn (gmitil10)     Print Article 
Published 2009-06-30 03:22 (KST)   
This article is lightly edited.  <Editor's Note>
As October approaches, anticipation surrounding the selection of the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics is rapidly growing. The host city, which will be announced at the 121st IOC (International Olympic Committee) Session on October 2.(1)

The initial process began on September 13, 2007.(2) Seven cities from around the world submitted applications: Tokyo (Japan), Madrid (Spain), Chicago (US), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Doha (Qatar), Prague (the Czech Republic), and Baku (Azerbaijan).

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Tokyo' Bid for the 2016 Summer Games
Each city touted its own advantages, ranging from Tokyo셲 experience during the 2002 FIFA World Cup to Baku셲 booming petroleum-based economy (which would enable it to fund the gargantuan costs associated with hosting a Summer Olympics.)

Following the announcement of the applicant cities was a preliminary evaluation, which gave each of the cities a specific score. The scores of the preliminary evaluation for each city were: Tokyo: 8.3, Madrid: 8.1, Chicago: 7.0, Doha: 6.9, Rio de Janeiro: 6.4, Prague: 5.3, and Baku: 4.3.(2) The IOC was left to choose four of these cities to move on as official candidate cities.(3)

One would automatically assume that the four cities with the highest scores would naturally proceed to the next level. In fact, this is what usually happens. Yet the IOC decided to eliminate Doha and selected Tokyo, Madrid, Chicago, and Rio de Janeiro (which had a lower score than Doha) as official candidate cities. In making such a decision, the IOC cited such issues as Doha셲 small population and lack of infrastructure (despite having hosted the 2006 Asian Games).(4)

Looking at the circumstances, one can see why Baku and Prague were also eliminated. Despite its recent economic boom, Azerbaijan still lacks a sufficient infrastructure. Its extensive border with Iran, coupled with the on-going political conflicts in the South Caucus region, also undermined its candidacy.

Prague, while having a commendable sports legacy, had similar problems as Doha and Baku. Its lack of infrastructure and venues were similarly detrimental to its application. The bid also failed to receive significant public support from within the Czech Republic itself, with a 2007 public opinion poll conducted by the IOC indicating that public support for it amongst Czech citizens hovered around only 50 percent.(5)

With only four cities left, we are left with many questions and speculations.

Will the IOC decide to hold the Summer Olympics in South America for the first time in history by selecting Rio de Janeiro? Will the fact that the 2012 Summer Olympics will be held in Europe hurt Madrid셲 chances? Will the Summer Olympics return to the United States for the first time in 20 years (following the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta)? Will they choose Tokyo, which won the highest score from the preliminary evaluation?

Following this article will be four separate articles that will detail the bids of each of the four remaining candidate cities and attempt to answer such questions.

Sources:

1: IOC rules mean change in Chicago's Olympic logo - USATODAY.com."News, Travel, Weather, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, U.S. & World - USATODAY.com. 27 June 2009 .

2. "Bids for the 2016 Summer Olympics," Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikipedia. 27 June 2009 .

3. "NEWS." INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE. 27 June 2009 .

4. "IOC Bends Rules When Selecting 2016 Olympic Bid Shortlist." GamesBids.com. 27 June 2009 .

5. "Public Support Only 50% For Prague 2016: Bid Questionnaire Response." GamesBids.com. 27 June 2009 .
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Beom-seok Sohn

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