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


During his trip to Japan, Coe met with Tokyo governor Shintaro

Ishihara, who is pushing his city’s bid to host the 2020 Summer


Coe said the pair discussed the challenges of bidding for the


”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


”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


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.”