Rome beats Venice to be Italy's 2020 Olympic candidate

09:18, May 20, 2010      

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Rome on Wednesday beat Venice and became Italy's official candidate for the 2020 summer Olympic Games.

The final decision was taken by the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni) following a voting procedure that granted the national candidature to the capital, according to a statement by Rome's City Hall.

Rome garnered 68 out of 70 votes. The Italian Olympic Committee's choice was based on technical elements. "Rome has a greater logistic, infrastructural and organizational backbone than Venice," said Coni.

In fact, while Venice's Olympic project might have started from scrap, Rome had the advantage of featuring pre-existing structures and sports centers built when the capital hosted the 1960 summer Olympics. Such background and experience thus gives major guarantees that Rome will respect building deadlines.

Rome's center-right mayor Gianni Alemanno praised the Coni's final decision. "To organize the Olympics and upgrade the existing sport infrastructures we only need 1.5 billion euros of public funds. The rest will be financed by private sponsors and firms," he assured.

The two projects forwarded to the Coni in March were totally different. Rome's plan focuses on enlarging the Italic Forum sport village, built in the 1920s and representing the winning asset of the capital's bid. The Olympic project aims at doubling the Olympic Stadium and updating the already existing swimming, tennis and athletics infrastructures by making them more environmental-friendly.

The mayor dreams of a "green" Olympic village surrounded by an aquatic park rising above the Tiber River. The aim is to exploit and restyle those structures already built for the 1960's Games in Rome and thus avoid useless expenditures.

On the other hand, Venice had envisaged a sort of "triangular" Olympic village built between the cities of Venice, Mestre, Padua and Treviso. An ambitious project which represented a unique opportunity to revamp the north-eastern regions of Italy but apparently not very practical.

Romans were enthusiastic that their city will have the privilege of being Italy's official candidate for the 2020 summer Olympics. As soon as the institutional website was launched on Wednesday by the Alemanno, more than 5,000 contacts were registered in the first two hours.

Other cities running to host the 2020 Summer Games are Tokyo, Istanbul, Lima and Durban. The International Olympic Committee will announce the winner in Buenos Aires in 2013.



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