五輪東京落選 「南米で初」には勝てなかった

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Oct. 4, 2009)
Olympic torch dream extinguished
五輪東京落選 「南米で初」には勝てなかった(10月4日付・読売社説)

Our wish--to see the Olympic torch in Tokyo once again--did not come true.

On Friday, the International Olympic Committee selected Rio de Janeiro as host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Tokyo had sought to host its second Games--the first was held in 1964--but ultimately fell short.

The result was disappointing, all the more so because many people had high hopes, wanting to feel excitement sweep across the country once again and see the Olympics revitalize the economy.

Rio, Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago were locked in a closely fought race to host the 2016 Games.

The tightness of the contest was evidenced by the fact that Chicago, for which U.S. President Barack Obama gave a speech, was eliminated in the first round of voting.

Tokyo was eliminated in the second round.

Apparently, a direct cause of the defeat was that IOC members who backed Chicago in the first round of voting did not switch their votes to Tokyo in the second round.


Rio more persuasive

Tokyo's biggest selling point was its concept of a "compact Olympics," which would have seen all of the Games' athletic fields and stadiums concentrated within an 8-kilometer radius.

The city also stressed its good public security, well-developed infrastructure and stable financial foundation.

However, it is undeniable that Tokyo appeared to lack persuasiveness compared with Rio, which was campaigning to host the first Olympics in South America.

A low public support rate for Tokyo's bid to host the Olympics also negatively impacted its showing in the race. According to a survey conducted by the IOC, only 55.5 percent of Tokyoites backed the city's Olympic bid. The figure was the lowest among the four cities, well below Madrid's 84.9 percent and 84.5 percent in Rio.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama gave a speech during Tokyo's final presentation in Copenhagen on Friday, underlining that the whole of Japan was working together toward hosting the 2016 Olympics.
The effort was not, however, enough to cover the bid's weak points.


Green plans must proceed

Tokyo also stressed it would use natural energy sources such as solar power to supply energy for the Games' stadiums and other facilities, and implement a large-scale greening project. These environmental measures must be included in future city planning.

Under the current severe global economic situation, sport in this nation is finding the going tough. There were high expectations that a 2016 Tokyo Olympics would greatly assist the nation's athletes by, for example, securing new sponsors.

The big goal--the Tokyo Olympics--is now lost, but it is important that the nation's sporting bodies ensure their athletes continue to perform at a high level.

Regarding a Tokyo bid for the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said, "I would actively consider it only after carefully listening to the opinions of Tokyo residents and the public across the nation."

If Tokyo is to try for the Olympics again, it will need to win greater public backing than it did for the 2016 bid and draw up a plan that can secure support from nations around the world.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 4, 2009)
(2009年10月4日01時03分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-10-04 09:42 | 英字新聞

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