The competition to bring the Olympics to our city just got a little tougher. At least that's what Tokyo wants us to think.
After a whirlwind week in Chicago where they said they were impressed with the city's "vibrant" bid, the evaluation committee of the International Olympic Committee is in Tokyo, second stop of their analysis of all four bid cities for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games.
Japanese Prime Minister and Olympian Taro Aso, speaking in English, told the committee he hoped to bring athletes to Japan from around the world, so they might experience what he first saw as a young athlete in Montreal in 1976.
"I have long held the most profound respect for all IOC members for your tireless devotion to building a better, more peaceful world, through the promotion of the Olympic Movement," he said. "I am an Olympian, and competed...as a member of the Japanese clay target shooting team. It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience."
"I will begin the process now with a firm commitment on behalf of the Government of Japan," he told the evaluators. "We will ensure that whatever needs to be done, will be done. Whatever needs to be built, will be built. Whatever needs to be financed, will be financed. That is our promise."
With that, just as in Chicago, the Tokyo 2016 bid team launched into a presentation on the city's "vision and legacy" for the 2016 Games.
Tokyo's Olympic organizers say they would blend 23 existing venues with 11 new sites. And, in themes similar to Chicago's presentation, they promised compact games, "surrounded by water and greenery." Chicago's bid team refers to their plan as "blue-green" games, emphasizing attention to water and renewable resources.
"With an Olympic Stadium floating above the sea, surrounded by forest, it will allow people to think about our Earth," said architect Tadao Ando. "It will allow people to think about our Earth, our environment, and our Children's future."
The Evaluation Commission will also visit Madrid, and Rio de Janeiro.