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Tokyo Will Be Tough Competition for Chicago's 2016 Bid

By Kalyn Belsha in News on Apr 18, 2009 4:30PM

Photo courtesy Tokyo 2016 website
Tokyo and its citizens greeted the 13 members of the International Olympic Committee evaluation panel Friday to obvious fanfare and widespread support for the city's 2016 Olympic bid.

Throughout the day, the committee toured 33 of the 34 existing and proposed Olympic sites, beginning in Tokyo Bay, where the city showed off the site of its new 100,000-seat waterfront Olympic Stadium. The IOC was given virtual-reality goggles to help them envision what the completed stadium will look like.

Guided by Tokyo's Governor, Shintaro Ishihara, the IOC crew viewed the city by public monorail and was greeted by marching bands and children waving flags of support.

The day’s entire tour ran on schedule, according to Tokyo's official bid website.

Connecting its hope for the future to a glimpse of past glory, at day's end Tokyo bid officials lit the 1964 Olympic flame in a cauldron at Kasumigaoka National Stadium -- an icon from when Tokyo became the first Asian city to host the Games 45 years ago.

Perhaps the only hitch in the tour was a small demonstration of about 50 protesters who shared their concerns about Tokyo's bid in front of the main stadium's proposed site.

Tokyo's bid ranked first in the IOC's overall technical evaluation last June ahead of Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Chicago. [WBBM, Reuters India]