Latin America 3, Europe 2 in Race for 2018 YOG

(ATR) It’s deadline day for five cities in the running to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. ATR's Matthew Grayson and Mark Bisson preview the bid books of Buenos Aires, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Medellin and Rotterdam.

(ATR) It’s deadline day for five cities in the running to host the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Bid books were due Monday by close of business to IOC headquarters in Lausanne.

Poznan, Poland withdrew last week, leaving three cities from Latin America and two from Europe.

An announcement early Tuesday from the IOC is expected to confirm the candidacies of Buenos Aires, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Medellin and Rotterdam.

Buenos Aires

The capital and largest city of Argentina already claims hosting rights to the 125th IOC Session in September 2013.

After bids for the Olympics in 1936, 1956, 1968 and 2004, the YOG could offer a starting point for another try at theGames.

Plans submitted Monday by Buenos Aires 2018 CEO Martin Gomez Tena follow a concept originally pitched for 2004 that would tie together the village and venues in a sort of Olympic corridor.

IOC member and NOC president Gerardo Werthein tells Around the Rings his city "has it all" – although some venues, including River Plate Stadium, would need to be updated.

The bid from Buenos Aires also stresses technology, youth – one fifth of Argentina’s population is under the age of 18, notes Werthein – as well as the power of social media.

Glasgow

Scotland’s biggest city aims to build on its experience of hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games, making use of sports and transport infrastructure built for the event.

Documents delivered Friday by Glasgow 2018 CEO Paul Bush claim that 99 percent of required YOG venues already exist following investment of almost $482 million in sporting infrastructure. That includes newly opened Emirates Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

The bid also says the YOG would amplify and accelerate the legacy of the Commonwealth Games and London 2012 Olympics both in the U.K. and beyond.

"The Glasgow 2018 Bid Committee understands that sport has the unique power to inspire young people to pursue their dreams, and to unite the youth of the world in a shared commitment to values that have never been more important than they are today," says Colin Moynihan, chair of the British Olympic Association.

Guadalajara

The host of the 2011 Pan American Games is banking on last October’s success overshadowing its last YOG bid.

IOC members may remember Guadalajara dropping out weeks before the 2014 host vote to concentrate on preparations for the Pan Ams, which faced construction issues at the time.

This go-around is different, insists Ivar Sisniega, a modern pentathlon Olympian for Mexico who now advises the 2018 campaign.

"All the facilities are in place," he tells ATR, and all the necessary guarantees from federal, state as well as city government.

The plans – mailed to Lausanne last week by bid chief Carlos Andrade – account for a compact village in a central area of the city.

"The people of Guadalajara proved that they certainly know how to welcome visitors from around the world," says Sisniega, also sports director for the 2011 Pan Ams.

Rotterdam

The bustling Dutch port presents a young, modern, multicultural city with recent experience staging international sporting events, including world championships in table tennis, judo and gymnastics.

The bid book – submitted Monday by Rotterdam 2018 CEO Jan Geuskens – promises compact YOG with an innovative cultural and educational program.

The main sports hub, including a temporary Youth Olympic Village, is proposed for the south of the city around the existing Ahoy Arena. Feyenoord’s football stadium and its environs is the second venue while picturesque Kralingse Bos, a wooded park that surrounds a lake, is the third site for YOG sports.

Bid chairman Jos van der Vegt tells ATR no investment is needed in building new venues or public transport infrastructure for the YOG.

More details will be presented at a press conference Thursday in Rotterdam.

Medellin

The host of the 2010 South American Games seeks a larger stage upon which to share its success story.

Documents dropped off Monday at the IOC by Medellin 2018 CEO Juan Camilo Quintero Medina don’t shy away from the city’s troubled past with late drug lord Pablo Escobar.

"Today, Medellin and Colombia are not what you may think," Mayor Anibal Gaviria Correa tells ATR, citing a "great social transformation" in the last decade.

IOC member and sports minister Andres Botero stresses the role of sport in this makeover and mentions Colombia’s record eight Olympic medalists at London 2012, including BMX champion and Medellin native Mariana Pajón.

"This enthusiasm and commitment to sport is very much lived every day in Medellin, where we have seen how sport is a path for change and becoming better human beings," Botero tells ATR.

The Road Ahead

Following today’s deadline, an evaluation panel chaired by German IOC member Claudia Bokel will now analyze the five bid books.

A report will be made to the IOC Executive Board, which will recommend a shortlist of cities for further evaluation at its meeting in Lausanne on Feb. 12 and 13.

Following additional assessment and video conferences with each remaining bid, a report will be submitted to IOC members, who will elect the host city at a meeting in Lausanne on July 4.

Reported by Matthew Grayson and Mark Bisson

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