Thursday 24 May 2012

Summer Olympics 2020 XXXII Olympiad

I have been doing a series on the past Olympics but yesterday the International Olympic Committee announced the shortlist of candidate cities that had passed the technical audit and would be carrying on for consideration for the 2020 Games. Baku in Azerbaijan and Doha in Qatar both fell at this hurdle leaving three cities in the running.

First up is the bid from a first time national host with Istanbul. If they win it will be the first Games to straddle two continents just as the city itself does as venues are planned for both side of the Bosphorus. There would be four zones of activity around the city if they were successful. The Olympic village zone panned around the existing athletics track to the West of the City, where most of the new venues will be built. A coastal zone where an existing marina will host the sailing and a handball stadium also already exists. Down here basketball, judo and the cycling veledrome would take place as well as the triathlon and routes of the marathon and cycling road race will pass.

A Bosphorus zone featuring one of the football stadiums on the Asian side of the city near the port area where there will be the rowing lake, long distance swim, archery and beach volleyball. Rugby and weightlifting will feature just across the watery divide. The to the north there is a forest zone where BMX, Mountain biking, white water canoeing will appear along with the return of golf.

Map of Istanbul venues

There is a possible return to Spain with Madrid bidding for a return the nation 28 years on from Barcelona. Being the only inland venue the sailing will be the furthest of any of the three bids from the centre, but that is often an Olympic consideration, the events will take place at Valencia.

They plan four main clusters in two distinct batches around the city. The main Olympic park will be centered around Juan Carlos I Park to the east of the city near the airport. Here a large number of the stadia will be built or exist.

Out to the west of the city at Casa de Campo there will be two more clusters. The northern one will host golf, equestrian and modern pentathlon. While the southern one includes the veledrome, handball, beach volleyball and triathlon. There are some sports whose venues don't fit into the clusters Tennis will happen on the courts used for the Madrid Open to the south, further out is the rowing lake and marathon swim. The white water canoeing also happens down to the south of the city and the shooting at a range to the east. Judo and Taekwando happen near the city centre not far from Real Madrid's Bernabéu stadium that will host the football final.

Map of Madrid venues

Finally there is a little bit of recycling with the last bid from 1964's host city Tokyo. They plan to use some of the venues from when they were the first Asian hosts of the Games including the Olympic Stadium. Also up in what is called the heritage zone the road cycling will take place through the Imperial Palace's vast gardens.

There are plans for new Olympic Park down in the Tokyo Bay area where there are already some venues like the Ariake Tennis Park. The equestrian events will take place here in Sea Forest Park and the golf will take place down here not far from Tokyo Gate Bridge. Because of the situation of most of the venues in Tokyo Bay even the sailing marina will be in downtown Tokyo. Indeed apart from some of the other Football venues only Modern Pentathlon and shooting will be more than 8km from the Olympic village. It makes Tokyo the most compact bid and every Olympian will have a real sense of being part of the games.

Map of Tokyo venues
Next year the IOC congress will meet to award the Games of the XXXII Olympiad to one of these three cities.

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