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Olympic 2016 hopefuls submit bids

Olympic flame
The 2016 host city will be decided on 2 October

Chicago appears to be the front-runner to secure the 2016 Olympics as the four candidate cities submit bid details to the International Olympic Committee.

Madrid, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro are the other candidates, with the final vote set for Copenhagen on 2 October.

The United States has not hosted the Games since 1996 and President Barack Obama supports his home city's bid.

But spokesman Patrick Sandusky said: "Having one person elected to office won't sway a voter to vote for us."

President Obama has supported the Chicago bid since his days as an Illinois senator.

The London equivalent would be walking out of your hotel in Park Lane and watching sport in Hyde Park

Chicago spokesman Patrick Sandusky on the city's plans

Sandusky told BBC Sport: "Some of his top advisers and closest friends are people that are on the board of directors for Chicago 2016 so we've had a great relationship with him.

"Him being elected showcases the city of Chicago and our support but it doesn't change our race as a bid city.

"We still have to have a great plan and provide a great experience."

Chicago's plan revolves around providing a compact event in the middle of the city, on the shores of Lake Michigan, using many established venues.

I think President Obama, with his close connections to Chicago, will definitely be a factor

Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr
Madrid bid leader

"The London equivalent would be walking out of your hotel in Park Lane and watching sport in Hyde Park; staying at a hotel on the Strand and watching rowing on the Thames," added Sandusky.

Spanish IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr admitted to BBC Sport: "I think President Obama, with his close connections to Chicago, will definitely be a factor.

"But at the end of the day this is not about politics, it's about producing the best bid and we shall see what the Obama administration puts on the table."

An IOC evaluation report last year ranked Tokyo and Madrid higher than Chicago, with Rio in fourth place.

The Spanish bid team profess not to be worried by suggestions the Games will not stay in Europe for a second successive Olympiad after London 2012.

Samaranch, whose father was president of the IOC from 1980 to 2001, says the Spanish capital will look for a "combination of vitality and reliability" as the bid team aim to improve on their third place in the ballot to host the 2012 Games.

"First there is the atmosphere in the stadia but then you have to remember that the Games also take place outside the stadia," explained Samaranch.

606: DEBATE

"Think about Barcelona or Sydney, there was enthusiasm in the street and everybody was enjoying the Games.

"It was not only an extraordinary performance by the athletes but also one by society."

The IOC survey in June last year saw Tokyo ranked fourth in terms of popular support within the country, although officials say that has climbed from around 60 to 70% since.

And Hidetoshi Maki, deputy director general of the Tokyo bid, believes the city's emphasis on budget will be a boost in the tightened economic climate.

"I'm so happy that we have the budget already secured in cash. It is quite meaningful and I think this is a strong point of it," Maki told BBC Sport.

The IOC is delaying negotiations on a new TV deal until after the vote, to avoid suggestions of influence by American network NBC, who prefer Chicago or, failing that, Rio because of its time zone.

Maki pointed to the potential three billion TV viewers in Asia as being in favour of the city, which last hosted the Games in 1964.

We have a feeling that many IOC members wish to change, to give an opportunity for new continent, new cities, new countries

Carlos Nuzman
President of the Rio bid committee

Japan is also bidding for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and football's World Cup in either 2018 or 2022.

Maki said: "I think this is a good example of how the Japanese community loves sport and is dedicated to sport."

But he added: "Our Olympic bid is the highest priority."

Brazil has already secured the football World Cup in 2014 - and the president of the Rio bid committee, Carlos Nuzman, believes this will count in their favour.

"Several expenses included in our budget are on the budget of the World Cup," he told BBC Sport.

"Security, stadiums, technology, accommodation, transportation are all very expensive and will be ready two years before."

The Olympics have never been held in South America, with the closest event in Mexico City in 1968.

"We have a feeling that many IOC members wish to change, to give an opportunity for new continent, new cities, new countries, a new atmosphere for the Games," added Nuzman.

"It is clear the youth of the world come from every part of the world."

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see also
Candidates for 2016 Olympics
12 Feb 09 |  Olympics
Four on 2016 Olympics short-list
04 Jun 08 |  Beijing 2008
Chicago joins 2016 Olympic race
14 Apr 07 |  Sport Homepage


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