Coe says Tokyo Olympic plans should be sustainable

Sebastian Coe has some advice for Tokyo’s Olympic bidders as he
outlined how the London Games would be delivered on budget despite
the global financial crisis.

The head of the London organizing committee said the economic
downturn hasn’t had too much of an impact because the plans put in
place years ago were responsible.

”When we were bidding in 2005 the international economy was at
a high-water mark, but we still had a vision to deliver a games
that were both sustainable and responsible and I think we’ve done
that,” Coe said at a news conference on Wednesday. ”The days of
building big because the last ones were big are over. I don’t think
that chimes any longer with the public appetite.”

London’s preparations for the games, which take place from July
27 to Aug. 12, have been relatively smooth so far. Coe insisted the
cost of hosting the 16-day spectacle remains within budget. The
government’s budget for the games, which includes all the venue
construction and infrastructure projects, is $14.5 billion.

”The public wants big sporting events, but they want to know
the instincts of the organizing committee are proportionate,” said
Coe, a two-time Olympic 1,500-meter champion. ”Seventy percent of
the venues we are using are existing venues. We punched through the
economic climate because we had a vision that was sustainable and
responsible.”

During his trip to Japan, Coe met with Tokyo governor Shintaro
Ishihara, who is pushing his city’s bid to host the 2020 Summer
Olympics.

Coe said the pair discussed the challenges of bidding for the
games.

”It’s a much more sophisticated process than it was 30 or 40
years ago,” Coe said. ”Now the people of a city ask supplementary
questions like what are you going to do with the venues afterward?
How are they going to be sustainable? How are they going to change
the lives of people in the communities?”

Tokyo lost out on a bid to host the 2016 Games to Rio de
Janeiro, largely due to a lack of public support.

Tokyo is competing for the 2020 Olympics against Madrid,
Istanbul, Doha and Baku, Azerbaijan. The IOC will select the host
city in September 2013.

On the issue of doping, Coe said most British athletes agree
with the British Olympic Association’s lifetime ban for doping.

”Over 90 percent of athletes support the BOA’s stance on
that,” Coe said. ”I think an individual sporting organization
must be able to determine what it thinks is in the best interest of
the sports and the competitors it represents.”

The Court of Arbitration for Sport will meet in London on March
12 to hear an appeal by the BOA against a ruling by WADA that its
lifetime Olympic bans are noncompliant with global doping
rules.

”I don’t think that two years is a sufficient sanction for
those who choose to step out of the moral framework,” Coe said.
”The issue of drugs in sport is something I’ve been speaking about
for 30 years and feel as strongly about it now as I did as a
competitor.”

Coe said social networking has played a major role in attracting
young people to the London Games.

”We have to accept that most young people don’t get excited
about sport because they read 20 paragraphs about a track and field
meet in traditional media,” Coe said. ”They are accessing their
information in a much more sophisticated way in any number of
platforms and we have been very proactive in using social networks
to get into the lives of young people.”