TOKYO (Reuters) - Once-bitten Tokyo received some words of advice from London Olympics chairman Sebastian Coe about sustainable economics and legacy during his visit to the Japanese capital this week.
Tokyo bidders have thrown their hat into the ring for the 2020 Olympics, despite getting burned last time around when the city lost out to Rio de Janeiro in the race for 2016.
”London’s infrastructural and operating budgets are balanced,“ Coe told Reuters. ”When we were bidding in 2005 the British economy was at a high-water mark.
“But we still had a vision to deliver a Games that were both sustainable and responsible,” he added after meeting Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara.
“The days of building big because the last ones were big are over. I don’t think that chimes any longer with the public appetite.”
London is likely to undershoot its budget for the Olympics, expecting money left over from the $14.7 billion in public funds set aside for the July 27-August 12 Games.
“The point I made (to Ishihara) was it’s as important to know why a city is bidding than how are you going to deliver a Games,” said Coe.
Tokyo won top marks from the International Olympic Committee’s technical evaluation for 2016 but lost out largely due to a lack of public support.
The city faces competition from Madrid, Istanbul, Doha and Azerbaijan’s Baku for the hosting rights to 2020.
”The public are the stakeholders,“ said Coe. ”They are asking more sophisticated questions than 30 or 40 years ago.
”They want to know what you are going to do with the venues afterwards, how are they going to be sustainable and change the lives of people in the communities.
“They want to know what structural plan is in place to deliver legacies.”
Coe pointed to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as the ideal template for success after the economic and cultural boom the Catalan capital witnessed after the Games.
“There is a history of Barcelona pre-‘92 and a history post-‘92,” said the twice Olympic 1,500 metres champion. “It’s completely different.”
Coe promised the London Games would tick all the boxes.
”Seventy percent of the venues we are using are existing venues,“ he said. ”Iconic landmarks like Lord’s cricket ground, Wimbledon, Wembley Stadium, the O2 Arena, the Royal parks.
“We punched through the economic climate because we had a vision that was sustainable and responsible.”
Editing by Ossian Shine