Plan improves on 2016 proposal

Updated: February 16, 2012, 10:57 AM ET
Associated Press

TOKYO -- Tokyo is promising an improved bid for the 2020 Olympics, building on the lessons learned from its failed effort to win hosting rights for the 2016 Games.

"We have worked hard to improve the plans we presented in 2016, and to make sure that they are fully integrated with the city and its people," Tokyo 2020 president and Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda said Thursday.

Tokyo submitted its bid to host the 2020 Olympics on Monday, delivering the file to the International Olympic Committee's headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, two days before a Feb. 15 deadline.

A major improvement of the 2020 bid is that the main Olympic stadium will be in the center of the city as opposed to the 2016 plan for a pier on the Tokyo waterfront, which the IOC deemed as too inaccessible.

Tokyo, which hosted the Summer Olympics in 1964, is up against Doha, Qatar; Istanbul; Madrid; and Baku, Azerbaijan.

In a move that could benefit Tokyo, Rome scrapped its bid Tuesday, with the Italian government saying it can't supply the required financial backing at a time of economic crisis.

"That Rome has withdrawn was a surprise and I can sympathize with how difficult that was," Tokyo 2020 CEO Masato Mizuno said. "Luckily, Tokyo has been given the support of the national government."

The proposed new 80,000-seat main stadium would be built on the same site as the main stadium for the 1964 Olympics.

As with its 2016 campaign, Tokyo is promising a compact bid for 2020 with 28 of the proposed 31 competition venues within an 5-mile radius of the Olympic and Paralympic Village.

Tokyo is promoting its 2020 bid as a symbol of Japan's recovery from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that left more than 15,000 people dead or missing on Japan's northeast coast.

The IOC will study the bids and decide in May whether to retain all of the candidates or pare the list. The IOC will select the 2020 host city at a meeting in Buenos Aires in September 2013.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press