Toronto has ‘good shot’ at Olympics: Fur­long

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

The man who helped Van­cou­ver land the 2010 Win­ter Games has some ad­vice for Toronto if it wants to be Canada’s next Olympic host city — strike while the iron is hot.

With “eu­pho­ria’’ for the Pan Amer­i­can Games set to reach a fever pitch this week­end — fu­elled by Cana­dian ath­letes’ un­prece­dented suc­cess at the multi-sport event — it will be eas­ier to rally public sup­port for an Olympic bid, said John Fur­long, who co-led Van­cou­ver’s bid and over­saw the Games or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee.

Mo­bi­liz­ing var­i­ous lev­els of gov­ern­ment and stake­hold­ers be­fore Sept. 15, the dead­line for would-be host cities for the 2024 Sum­mer Games to register their in­ter­est with the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee, may prove chal­leng­ing but it can be done, Fur­long said.

“I do think that the tim­ing may be right,’’ Fur­long told The Cana­dian Press this week. “If the com­mu­nity de­cided this was the time to go for it, I think they’d have a pretty good shot.

“Be­cause of the tim­ing of the bids for 2024, if the city has this feel­ing, then it will prob­a­bly have to move along fairly quickly and de­cide.’’

Toronto has un­suc­cess­fully bid for the Olympics five times in the last 60 years, most re­cently when it lost to Bei­jing for the 2008 Sum­mer Games.

The IOC rated Toronto’s 2008 bid favourably on in­fra­struc­ture and tech­ni­cal abil­ity, but raised con­cerns about its com­mit­ment to sup­port­ing sports in the com­mu­nity.

The Pan Am Games, which saw ticket sales sur­pass one mil­lion, has stirred talk of another at­tempt. Sev­eral pub­lished re­ports have es­ti­mated a bid would cost at least $50 mil­lion and a source con­firmed that fig­ure to The Cana­dian Press.

Some ex­perts say lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional changes that oc­curred since the last bid could play in the city’s favour.

Toronto mayor John Tory has said the city now has the fa­cil­i­ties to host in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions and that “noth­ing is off the ta­ble’’ when it comes to a pos­si­ble bid.

“We have to sit down right af­ter these Games and pre­pare ev­ery bit of anal­y­sis — on the fi­nances, on the ben­e­fits to the city, on the amount of pub­lic­ity it will give us from the point of tourism,’’ Tory told The As­so­ci­ated Press this week.

The IOC re­cently changed its rules to en­cour­age bid­ding cities to use ex­ist­ing or tem­po­rary fa­cil­i­ties and to fo­cus on sus­tain­abil­ity and com­mu­ni­ty­build­ing.

Pre­vi­ously, the com­mit­tee pre­ferred to see fa­cil­i­ties and the ath­letes vil­lage clus­tered around an Olympic sta­dium, which Toronto pledged to build on its wa­ter­front for 2008.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.