The ability of Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid to provide a convincing reason why they want to stage the Olympic Games and not just prove that they can will be the key to winning the right to host the 2020 edition, Sebastian Coe said on Tuesday.
Mapping out an attractive "Games legacy" would be crucial to gaining the backing of International Olympic Committee (IOC) members at a vote in Buenos Aires in September, the former athlete and London 2012 organizing committee chairman said in Madrid.
"People get focused on the how but being able to explain to people why you are doing this is really important," Coe said.
"Why does a city really want to deliver a Games and what do they want to do with it? That's what I think IOC members want to hear, it goes way beyond simply being able to deliver.
"The real issue for any organizing committee is to figure out what the exit strategy is and that's a 10-year program."
Coe, a vice president of the International Association of Athletics Federations and widely seen as a future Olympic movement heavyweight, was careful to avoid making any comparison between the three bids. Each city delivered their candidature files to the IOC in January and on-site inspections by an evaluation commission began in Tokyo this week.
Madrid is next, from March 18 to 21, followed by Istanbul from March 24 to 27 before the commission publishes a technical assessment at the beginning of July.
"The most critical stakeholder that any city has to deal with is of course the people that live in that city," Coe said.
"The fundamental question is why. How are you going to use the Games for the future? You have to be clear what those legacy targets are."
The London Olympic Games were seen as a resounding success despite some prophecies of disaster after the city won the right to host them in 2005.
With the economy struggling and unemployment at record levels, many Spaniards are worried about the cost of hosting an Olympic Games but Coe sought to reassure them, saying prior knowledge of the financial crisis would not have changed his mind about wanting the Olympic Games for London.
"Would we have bid for the Games with hindsight? My honest answer is that not only would we have bid but had we known where the economy was going we would have redoubled our efforts," he said.
He pointed to "almost 7 billion pounds ($10.6 billion) of construction work," most of which he said had gone to British businesses and had helped to safeguard jobs.
"In legacy we have targeted 13 billion pounds of business, 11 billion in straight business transactions and two billion in tourism," he noted.
"The economic impact of a Games, particularly in a domestic and global economy that is struggling, is actually one that is very crucial."
Reuters - Global Times