2008 Bid Cities
The five candidates for the 2008 Olympics. The host city will be selected by the IOC in Moscow on July 13.
Population: 12 million.
Previous Olympics: none.
Olympic bidding record: Second time; lost by two votes to Sydney in the 1993 election for the 2000 Olympics.
Major sporting events hosted: 1991 Asian Games.
In favor: Ringing endorsement in IOC report that Beijing Games would "leave a unique legacy to China and to sport"; IOC desire to award the games for the first time to world's most populous nation; strong national support; slick promotional campaign; high-profile endorsements from Australian track star Cathy Freeman, U.S. tennis player Michael Chang, the Three Tenors, media entrepreneur Rupert Murdoch; praise for Olympic Village plans and sporting concept.
Against: Criticism of China's suppression of individual liberties and concerns about a possible cleanup of political opponents and other 'undesirables' prior to games; vows by human rights activists and Tibetan groups to stage disruptive campaign, through 2008 if necessary; potential congestion and smog; environmental concerns because of population growth; lack of experience in hosting such a big international sports event.
British bookmaker (William Hill) odds: 1-4
Population: 2 million in the city, 11 million in the Paris region.
Previous Olympics: Summer Games 1900 and 1924; Winter Games in Chamonix 1924, Grenoble 1968, Albertville 1992.
Olympic bidding record: lost out to Barcelona for 1992 Games.
Major sporting events hosted: 1998 soccer World Cup, world championships in various sports.
In favor: Theme of "Games within a City," won praise for using existing facilities and for good transport and accomodation infrastructure; universal allure as the world's top tourist destination; plans to stage events near famous landmarks, such as beach volleyball near the Eiffel Tower, show jumping at the Invalides, fencing in the Grand Palais; experience in hosting successful sports events.
Against: 2004 Olympics take place in Athens, Greece, reducing chance of two consecutive European hosts. Paris bid leader Claude Bebear under government investigation for alleged involvement in a money-laundering scheme unrelated to the Olympics.
Status: fighting Toronto for second place.
Bookmaker Odds: 7-1
Population: 2 million in the city, 5 million in Greater Toronto.
Previous Olympics: Summer Games in Montreal 1976, Winter Games in Calgary 1988.
Olympic bidding record: lost to Atlanta in bid for 1996 games.
Major sporting events hosted: 1996 world basketball championships.
In favor: Fine site adjacent to the city center with good transport links and environmentally-friendly technology; strong sporting and organizational tradition with good experience of hosting international tournaments; major support and input from athletes.
Against: Concern about cost and feasibility of planned joint public and private sector financing, especially of water front renovations, and distance of some events from Toronto; questions about expense of campaign and whether it has stayed within strict IOC limits; adverse publicity over comments by Mayor Mel Lastman, who "joked" about fearing attending a meeting in Kenya because of snakes and cannibals.
Status: fighting Paris for second place.
Bookmaker Odds: 3-1
Population: 11 million.
Previous Olympics: none.
Olympic bidding record: third consecutive bid, following unsuccessful 2000 and 2004 attempts.
Major sporting events hosted: world championships in various sports.
In favor: Turkey's Olympic Law has guaranteed financial resources and official support; environmental improvement planned as 'major legacy'; experience of organizing single sport world championships; attraction of venue at the crossroads between Europe and Asia.
Against: Travel times between venues; uncertainties about games finances and feasibility of time frame and projected costs for transport and ambitious planning projects; worries about Turkey's economic situation.
Status: no-hoper but will get first-round sympathy votes.
Bookmaker Odds: 66-1
Population: 2.6 million (rising to 3.8 million during the working day). 8.8 million in the prefecture.
Previous Olympics: Summer Games in Tokyo 1964, Winter Games in Sapporo 1972 and Nagano 1998.
Olympic bidding record: first time.
Major sporting events hosted: 1998 world volleyball championships.
In favor: Combination of excellent venues and proven ability to organize major multi-sport events; existing infrastructure and environmentally-friendly technology.
Against: Potential transport congestion and access to some proposed island sites; concerns about financial implications for the city of the scale of the projects.
Status: no-hoper, overshadowed by Asian giant China.
Bookmaker Odds: 33-1