The International Olympic Committee has chosen three cities as finalists to bid for the chance to host the 2020 Summer Games.
“In the order of drawing lots: Istanbul, Tokyo, and Madrid,” said Mark Adams the committee’s communication director.
The announcement marks the beginning of a 16-month campaign among finalists to win over the Olympic committee before it makes its final selection in September 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Two other candidate cities: Doha, Qatar, and Baku, Azerbaijan, were eliminated from consideration. The capital city of oil rich Qatar wanted to move the event to October in order to avoid the hot temperatures of July and August, which the the committee said could conflict with other sporting events and result in a lower television viewing audience.
Baku was eliminated because it had no experience in hosting a major international sporting event.
Of the three finalists, Tokyo is the only one to have previously hosted the Olympics, having done so in 1964. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said hosting the 2020 Games would serve as a symbol of his country’s recovery from last year’s deadly earthquake and tsunami.
But with PyeongChang, South Korea, hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics, the committee may be unwilling to hold back-to-back Olympics in Asia.
Madrid is making its third consecutive bid to host the Summer Games, including a loss to Rio de Janeiro for the chance to host the 2016 event, but the committee has raised questions about Spain’s troubled economy.
This is Istanbul’s fifth attempt to host the Olympics, but its chances may be harmed by its bid to host the 2020 European soccer championship. The committee does not want a host city staging two major international sporting events in the same year.