Istanbul, Tokyo, and Madrid Officially Hand Over Bids for 2020 Olympic Games

The three finalists to host the 2020 Olympic (and Paralympic) Games officially handed over their final Candidature Files to the International Olympic Committee today at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Istanbul, Turkey; Tokyo, Japan; and Madrid, Spain each handed in their final proposals, and will now await a visit from the IOC Evaluation Commission, chaired by Vice-President Sir Craig Reedie, in March. Specifically, they will be in Tokyo from March 4th to 7th, Madrid from March 18th to 21st, and Istanbul from March 24th to 27th.

The chronology of the process from here forward:

  • March 4th to 7th – IOC Evaluation Committee visits Tokyo
  • March 18th to 21st – IOC Evaluation Commitee visits Madrid
  • March 24th to 27th – IOC Evaluation Committee visits Istanbul
  • July 3rd to 4th – Final 45-minute presentation to IOC Session in Lausanne
  • September 7th – IOC makes final vote in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Today’s presentment of the candidates’ final packages is very ceremonial, and is one of the final opportunities that each city will have to make an impression on the IOC. Representatives were carefully chosen to ignite the Olympic spirit in their home cities and put some drive and enthusiasm behind their populations, which will play a major role in the final decision of the IOC.

Tokyo went first, led by 2008 Paralympic medalist in the SB3 50 backstroke Takayuki Suzuki, Masato Mizuno, CEO of the bid committee, and Homare Sawa, the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Soccer Player of the Year. They were followed by Madrid and their delegates Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., Marisol Casado and Jose Perurena Lopez. Samaranch is the son of a former IOC President, Casado is a part of the IOC organizing committee for the Youth Olympic Games, and Lopez is the president of the International Canoeing Federation.

Finally, Istanbul was led by mayor Kadir Topbas and Hasan Arat, a former international basketball player who is the head of their bid.

All three cities are veterans of hosting major swimming competition; Tokyo hosts an annual stop on the World Cup Series, Istanbul hosted the 2012 Short Course World Championships less than a month ago, and Madrid hosted the 1987 World Championships. All three also have a lot of bidding experience for the Olympics, though Tokyo is the only of the three cities to have actually hosted. They were home to the 1964 Games, though they also won the bid for the 1940 Games that were cancelled by WWII.

Click here to read our initial breakdown of the three finalist cities.

What we know about the proposals in terms of aquatics facilities, with the dates in parenthesis as the proposed range of competition:

Tokyo (July 25th – August 9th, 2020)

Odaibe Marine Park – Potential Venue for Open Water Swimming, with 10,000 temporary seats planned
Tatsumi International Swimming Center – Synchro, Diving, Water Polo, though likely too small for pool swimming, would include an expansion for the Games and a permanent new aquatics facility. The proposed expansion would see a 20,000 seat arena for pool seating.
Musashino Forest Modern Pentathlon Centre – Pentathlon, Swimming

Full application file here.

Madrid (August 7th-August 23rd, 2020)

Water Polo, Diving – Existing Aquatic Centre seating 5,200, 5,000 respectively, permanent
Swimming, Synchro – Existing Aquatic Centre seating 16,500, permanent
Open Water – Madrid/Gatafe Rowing Centre, to be expanded to 14,000 seats

Full application file here.

Istanbul (August 5th-August 23rd, 2020)

Planned “Bosphorus Zone” around the river that separates the city into Asian and European halves – Potential Venue for Open Water Swimming
Planned construction of world’s largest airport should give this bid a significant boost.

Full bid books here.

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10 years ago

I doubt that Madrid or Istanbul will get it. Not only is Tokyo not in civil war or economic disaster but it is also much more equipped to handle the Olympics.

10 years ago

It is going to be Tokyo and it won’t even be close. I was in the Singapore hotel where/when London was awarded the games and Frenchmen were just stunned. We all expected Paris to win it. It was fun watchnig it on a big screen among many Frenchmen ready to celebrate, except…

10 years ago

So they’ve got their choice between a place that’s horrible civil war-adjacent, a country trying to build its way out of the second or third worst economy in the EU, and a country that’s got some long term infrastructure issues from the tsunami that stll need to be solved.

I’ll take Tokyo with the hopes the Japanese can manage to keep Godzilla from spring up between now and then.

Reply to  beachmouse
10 years ago

Civil war-adjacent?
Seoul, Korea did just fine ’88, and they themselves were/are still technically at war…. Many a-times an Olympic Games has been used as a catalyst to improve a country’s situation. I’m more concerned about Rio than I would be with any of the cities listed above. But I’m hoping for Tokyo since I’m only a two hour flight away!

Reply to  Paella747
10 years ago

Rio fared well on the Pan AM games..

Violence may be a issue.. but if the goverment REALLY wants to.. they can resolve it…. and they only care to do it when the country is showns to all the world..

Reply to  Paella747
10 years ago

But at the time of the Seoul games, the PRK was on fairly good behavior. While the Syria situation should long be settled by 2020 and no one wants to mess with NATO, this being the Middle East, you can’t really be sure about the region.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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