2020 Summer Olympic Finalists Pit Newcomers vs. Traditional Powers

Kyle ScottContributor IIIMay 23, 2012

BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 17:  Two Chinese women play near the Olympic rings sculpture and the torch of Beijing Olympic Games before the rehearsal of ceremony to mark 100-day countdown to London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Park on April 17, 2012 in Beijing, China. The 100-day countdown to London 2012 Olympic Games falls on April 18, 2012.  (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
Feng Li/Getty Images

The three finalists for the 2020 Summer Olympics have been selected. The winner will be announced in Buenos Aires in 2014. The three remaining cities are Tokyo, Madrid, and Istanbul. Doha and Baku were the last two out. If the IOC holds true to form, Istanbul will be awarded the Games. The IOC does not like to award the same country or continent the Games too frequently, and with the 2012 Olympics in London this summer, that would seem to disqualify Madrid since Tokyo and Istanbul are both capable cities.

By this measure, Tokyo is probably out as well. Beijing hosted the Summer Games in 2008 and PyeongChang, South Korea will host the Winter Games in 2018. So it seems unlikely that the IOC would award Asia the Games three times within a twelve-year period.

This leaves Istanbul. Turkey has never hosted a Games. Istanbul is literally a bridge-city between eastern and western cultures. Istanbul would also serve as a good compromise between a European city like Madrid and non-Western cities like Doha and Baku that were dismissed before the final round.

Of course, Istanbul is going to have to put a better bid together if it wants to secure the 2020 Games. It seems to be the weakest of the three remaining cities with the IOC committee saying it, “offers good potential.” Tokyo appears to be the front runner with the IOC, saying that it presented “a very strong application.” If Tokyo earns the bid it would be the second time since 1964 that it would host the Summer Games.