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The marathon road to Olympic success

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No race in the world has more applicants than the Tokyo Marathon

Otober 24 - Many aspects of a city’s bid to host an Olympic Games are important to its chances of success. Financing and infrastructure are key, and the latest fashion accessory required by voting IOC members is legacy, or what a Games will do for a city, a country and the Olympic Movement.

Another box a candidate city must tick is organisational experience. London when it won in 2005 could point not only to hosting the European football championships but probably of more importance its major annual events, Wimbledon, cricket’s Test matches, horse-racing’s Epsom Derby and the London Marathon.

The Marathon is a logistical colossus. A course through a busy city must be prepared literally overnight, roads shut for a day and the whole circus removed as if it had never existed before the working week begins the next day. Not surprisingly, when London won the right to host the 2012 Games, the organisers of the London marathon were asked to take charge of the Olympic road races.

What worked for London can work for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic bid. London may be a quarter of a century older than its Asian cousin but voting IOC members can take comfort in their remarkable similarities.

Indeed, the Tokyo marathon is likely to be the first newcomer to the group known as World Marathon Majors of which London, New York, Chicago, Berlin and Boston were founders in 2006.

Discussions about an invitation to Tokyo to join the group have taken place already within it, and a source says Tokyo is believed to fulfill all the criteria required, good organisation, iconic course, strong sponsors and a strong charitable element, hardly surprising when it so closely resembles the New York and London races.

It has overtaken both to one degree. No race in the world has more applications for places. For 2013 only one in ten were successful, with more than 304,000 applying on the first day applications opened. That is almost three times as many as New York and London, and more than 20,000 up on only a year earlier.

Japan has long been a country excited by elite marathon running. Its women won the Olympic gold medals in 2000 and 2004. But it was something the Japanese used to believe was for professional runners, and not for the likes of the average Seko and Takahashi. Then Tokyo’s two marathons merged in 2007 and a decision was taken to open the new race to anybody who could run the classic distance of 26 miles 385 yards/42.2 kilometres in under seven hours.

The 2013 race, which doubles as Japan’s world championship trials, has the slogan The Day We Unite. It may also be a day which persuades the IOC that it is Tokyo’s turn next. Nothing is more likely to convince them than the passion for the most iconic of Olympic events that will be on show that day.

NEIL WILSON

http://www.sportsfea...olympic-success

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You have this amazing propensity to rewrite reality to support your personal desired outcome. It looks to me that Tokyo's had a very successful visit so far.

But of course it was much worse. Did anyone really was so innocent to believe that the magnitude of the radiation, after the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, was insignificant?). What pisses me

Why fear? Radiation level in Tokyo is one of the LOWEST out of ALL other major capital cities. If you don't want Tokyo to win the bid that's totally understandable but please state facts and not fear

Tokyo's doing a very nice job. I'm glad to see the PR, the public support, the bid branding, etc. They're clearly the most compelling candidate right now.

Totally agree. Seems like a huge contrast to their 2016 bid.

Now if only the fanboys wouldn't keep bidding the prediction market price up I'd buy more Tokyo "shares"!

Edited by Sir Rols
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Tokyo 2020: Japan elevated to third place on official Country Brand Index 2012-2013

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LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

October 31 – The FutureBrand Country Brand Index 2012-2013 has raised the ranking for Japan from fourth last year to third among 118 countries in its official list.

According to the findings, Japan ranks as one of the world’s most exciting countries with a blend of “the hyper-modern and traditional with values that inspire” noted the index. It also gained the top spot in the Advanced Technology, Attractions and Authenticity subsections.

This is a boost to the Tokyo 2020 bid and comes from high notes for business, culture, and tourism adding to the overall allure of the city.

Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC member and head of both the bid and the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) said, "We are delighted with the results of FutureBrand's latest Country Brand Index. This report reflects the world's positive perception of Japan, based on our innovative culture and rich history.

“If Tokyo secures the honour of hosting the 2020 Games, I am confident that athletes, Olympic and Paralympic Families, and international visitors will all likewise appreciate all that Tokyo has to offer."

The Country Brand Index ranks global perceptions around nations based on factors such as cultures, industries, economic strength, and public policy initiatives. The index is a mix of trend reportage, expert findings, data-rich analysis and future-positive prediction that is compiled by FutureBrand.

The report states: "Japan has managed to maintain its reputation as a world-class brand, especially for tourism, perceived as the second strongest brand in the dimension overall, the strongest brand in the world for Attractions, third strongest for Food and sixth for Value for Money."

2012-13 Top 10 Country Brands:

1-Switzerland

2-Canada

3-Japan

4-Sweden

5-New Zealand

6-Australia

7-Germany

8-United States

9-Finland

10-Norway

http://www.sportsfea...index-2012-2013

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I really don't understand that index. No France? No UK? No Italy? No Brazil? And Canada is number 2???!!! Just doesn't make sense to me.

Canada has a good rep worldwide and it was due to the boost of Vancouver apparently (at least that is what I read) Canada was number one going into London 2012. I am not one bit surprised that comment came from an American.

"The survey determined countries’ brand strength by surveying more than 3,000 “opinion-formers and frequent international business or leisure travelers,” and broke down their views into more than 20 categories, including political freedom, investment climate and natural beauty."

Something Canada has and should be no surprise at all.

Edited by intoronto1125
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I'm not sure what the criteria was, but it is not surprising Canada has done so well. I think Canada has the best "branding" of any country in the world. It started in 1967 with the introduction of its iconic and simple flag, and the brand has gone from there. Brand Canada is often mentioned here in Australia as something we should look to as Australia continues to discuss another Republic referendum and the potential for a new flag to come with. Over the past ten years in particular there has been big discussion in Australian media about the apparent dissatisfaction Australians have with their national brand.

South Africa is another country that has had great success in forging a new national identity from it's flag. Well done to Canada and South Africa.

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I'm not sure what the criteria was, but it is not surprising Canada has done so well. I think Canada has the best "branding" of any country in the world. It started in 1967 with the introduction of its iconic and simple flag, and the brand has gone from there. Brand Canada is often mentioned here in Australia as something we should look to as Australia continues to discuss another Republic referendum and the potential for a new flag to come with. Over the past ten years in particular there has been big discussion in Australian media about the apparent dissatisfaction Australians have with their national brand.

South Africa is another country that has had great success in forging a new national identity from it's flag. Well done to Canada and South Africa.

I think the first step is to remove the Union Jack idk how receptive that idea is in Australia.

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I think the first step is to remove the Union Jack idk how receptive that idea is in Australia.

Like the whole republic debate, the hard part's not getting people to want to change, but in getting them to agree on what to replace it with. I wouldn't mind seeing a new flag - but most alternatives I've seen have looked tacky and cheap.

Anyway, back on topic (actually, our best chance to change the flag probably would have been if the Japs had got round to invading us in 1942):

Tokyo Olympic bid 'healing' Japan's wounds

Tokyo's quest for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games is helping to heal the wounds left by last year's twin quake and tsunami disasters, bid leader Tsunekazu Takeda says.

The 65-year-old - who was elected to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) before the London Games - added the economic spin-off from winning hosting rights would have a hugely-positive effect on the country.

"This bid is a vivid demonstration of the power of sport with athletes and sport playing a key role at the heart of society after a difficult time," Takeda told AFP in an interview.

"Without a doubt, Tohoku (the region affected by the tsunami) and the rest of Japan will benefit from the Games.

"According to calculations provided by the city of Tokyo, the economic effect on the nation as a whole is estimated at $US38 billion ($A36.8 billion).

"Studies conducted by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Bid Committee ... show that the Games would create more than 150,000 jobs nationwide."

Takeda, who like his late father Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda was an accomplished show jumper, said while many might have Tokyo as the frontrunner over Istanbul and Madrid, he had little time for such tags.

"Bidding for the Olympic and Paralympic Games is no mere event," he said.

"We believe that each of the cities bidding to host the Games is incredibly motivated and has some very interesting concepts.

"I'm not interested in whether Tokyo is today's frontrunner. I want Tokyo to be tomorrow's winner."

Takeda, who along with his team will learn their fate at the vote of the 100-plus IOC members in Buenos Aires on September 7 next year, believes this Tokyo bid has learnt from the previous one which came third to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 edition.

"Tokyo 2020 is an enhanced bid. We kept the best and improved the rest.

"We have revised our plans in a number of key areas: the main stadium, new village location and better use of transportation and other infrastructures.

"We have a new committee, a new team and new plans."

On that note Takeda, who is the great grandson of Emperor Meiji who ruled Japan from 1867-1912, said despite the recent resignation of the charismatic and unpredictable Shintaro Ishihara as Governor of Tokyo, the bid retained support at local level.

NineMSN

Actually, the most interesting thing I got out of that is that Takeda is Emperor Meiji's great grandson.

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Canada has a good rep worldwide and it was due to the boost of Vancouver apparently (at least that is what I read) Canada was number one going into London 2012. I am not one bit surprised that comment came from an American.

"The survey determined countries’ brand strength by surveying more than 3,000 “opinion-formers and frequent international business or leisure travelers,” and broke down their views into more than 20 categories, including political freedom, investment climate and natural beauty."

Something Canada has and should be no surprise at all.

In Toronto -- I'm not pooh-hooing Canada, but come on the number two international brand in the world? Seriously? I think France, Italy, the UK, Japan, Switzerland all have far better defined, more appealing and more storied brands than Canada. There's no anti-Canadian bias here. I just don't think this "survey" makes much sense.

Btw, I'm looking at more than just the flag. I have to think this survey did too. Which country conjures up the strongest, most appealing and most distinctive cultural impressions? For me there are just too many weird omissions here.

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Japan was marked by the turn of events on March 11, 2011 as by few others in its history, but Tokyo′s Olympic bid officials don′t think that the Fukushima nuclear disaster should affect their chances of hosting the 2020 Olympic Games.

"No one died, no one got injured from this event. No one," Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and head of the bid, told dpa in an interview.

Tokyo still hopes to beat Madrid and Istanbul in the race to host the Games, set to end on September 7, 2013 with a formal vote in Buenos Aires.

A tsunami with 15-metre-high waves devastated portions of Japan's coastline in March 2011, in a disaster that claimed 19,000 lives. The tsunami de-activated the cooling systems of three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant and caused a meltdown.

The World Nuclear Association (WNA) admits that "there have been no deaths or cases of radiation sickness from the nuclear accident, but over 100,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes to ensure this."

Of course, the long-term consequences of the radioactive leak are yet to be fully determined. According to Japanese authorities, the situation is under control, but some experts warn of the danger that the plant's fourth reactor may yet collapse.

Takeda, who was elected this year as a member of the International Olympic Committe (IOC), stresses that Fukushima is no longer a problem.

"No one is worried about the tsunami or radiation. Last year we had the 100th anniversary of the JOC, 34 IOC members including Jacques Rogge visited us and they understood how is Tokyo now," Takeda said.

"There is a normal percentage of radiation. Many people misunderstood that Tokyo is so far. It's not the same, far away from the Fukushima area," he said.

And having the Olympics in the city would be great, he noted.

"We organised many sports championships in Tokyo with great success. We never had a problem," Takeda said.

He staunchly rejected comparisons with the nuclear disaster in the Ukrainian town of Chernobyl in the 1980s, which he stressed was "totally different."

"So many people died (there). Here, no one, no one. And it's already more than one year," Takeda said.

He admits with a smile that "omotenashi," the value of hospitality according to the Japanese language and tradition, can sometimes be an added difficulty in the effort to defeat Madrid's and Istanbul's Olympic bids.

It already happened with Tokyo's bid to host the 2016 Olympics. They beat US President Barack Obama's Chicago, but they could not shake off Japanese shyness and smoothness to promote their virtues. Madrid and Rio de Janeiro faced off in the final round of that election in 2009 in Copenhagen, and the Brazilian city got the Games.

"We have the Japanese character and we have to keep it. Omotenashi (is a) special mentality, Japanese friendship and hospitality," Takeda said.

But he admitted that the bid needs to "try to be more outspoken." Making it into the final round next year will be vital, he said.

One of how many? Legitimate? The Emperor had a number of concubines from whom his mother chose the most suitable one(s).

A distant heir to the Meiji dynasty, which modernized and westernized Japan in the late 19th century and early 20th century, Takeda says he is "honoured" by those roots.

"My father was a grandson of the Meiji dynasty. I'm already 65 years old, I don't feel differently. It's been my whole life. I was born after the war, my brothers and sisters were born before the war. When I was born everything was different in Japan," he said.

"Before, there were many princes and princesses, after the war only sons and daughters of the emperor, no more. Of course, I feel honoured. And I respect the emperor, very strongly," he explained.

Takeda defined sportspeople as the centre of the Olympics, and he recalled his own experience in Munich 1972, an event which was overshadowed by the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by a Palestinian militant organization.

"At the beginning I didn't know what happened, there was no radio, TV, internet, nothing. You have to stay home, no practice, nothing. In the evening I had the announcement of what happened," Takeda, who was taking part in equestrian sports at the time, remembered.

The JOC president would rather remain cautious when asked about the demand by relatives of those dead athletes that the IOC observe a minute's silence in their tribute at the opening ceremony of each Olympics.

"It's a very difficult issue, I would say that politics and sports should be separated."

http://www.digibet.i...No_one_died.php

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Japan was marked by the turn of events on March 11, 2011 as by few others in its history, but Tokyo′s Olympic bid officials don′t think that the Fukushima nuclear disaster should affect their chances of hosting the 2020 Olympic Games.

"No one died, no one got injured from this event. No one," Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and head of the bid, told dpa in an interview.

"It's a very difficult issue, I would say that politics and sports should be separated."

http://www.digibet.i...No_one_died.php

Stupid statements from a total bozo. This guy has holes in his head.

For these idiotic statements, I hope Japan loses.

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I really think the Tokyo bid should stop referring to the 2011 disaster. In fact I am suprised they are. I think that disaster sympathy card is a really low act - given it is using the deaths of thousands of people as a mechanism to garner sympathy. IOC members shouldn't be put into a position of emotional blackmail.

It reminds me of Rome backing out of the 2012 race stating that it should be automatically award to NYC "because of 9/11".

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In Toronto -- I'm not pooh-hooing Canada, but come on the number two international brand in the world? Seriously? I think France, Italy, the UK, Japan, Switzerland all have far better defined, more appealing and more storied brands than Canada. There's no anti-Canadian bias here. I just don't think this "survey" makes much sense.

Btw, I'm looking at more than just the flag. I have to think this survey did too. Which country conjures up the strongest, most appealing and most distinctive cultural impressions? For me there are just too many weird omissions here.

There is much more to it.

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Tokyo Marathon joins World Marathon Majors series

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Tokyo Marathon has joined the World Marathon Majors, becoming the sixth city in the series.

The World Marathon Majors announced Friday that the Tokyo Marathon will be held Feb. 24, the first race of the series and first in Asia. It joins world majors in Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

The Tokyo Marathon has received about 300,000 applications for 36,000 spots since 2007.

The World Marathon Majors formed in 2006 and offers $1 million in prize money split equally between the top male and female competitors.

Runners earn points by placing among the top five in each race over a two-year period. The World Championships and Olympic marathons also are counted toward the total.

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Tokyo 2020 Team to Attend OCA General Assembly in Macau

Tokyo, 6 November 2012 - Tokyo 2020's mission to bring sport to the heart of the world's most forward-thinking, safe and well-organised city will reach a key milestone in the bidding journey as it anticipates the 31st Olympic Council of Asia General Assembly on 8 November in Macau. Deputy Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Shinichi Yamanaka and Tokyo Metropolitan Government Vice Governor Toshiyuki Akiyama will also join the Tokyo 2020 delegation's team of senior observers headlined by its President Tsunekazu Takeda.

The presence of national and local government representatives in the delegation highlights the strong, wide support that Tokyo 2020 has attracted throughout Japanese society, including parliament, sports federations, Japanese medallists from the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and of course sport fans.

Deputy Minister Yamanaka said: "Our ministry has been operating a taskforce since October last year to support Tokyo 2020 and its goal of hosting the world's largest celebration of sport. I'm proud that the Olympic Values of friendship, excellence and respect are shared by the Japanese population and underpin our way of life. We look forward to continue working closely with the Bid Committee, Japanese Olympic Committee and Tokyo Metropolitan Government to realise the goal of hosting the Games in Tokyo."

Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC member and President of both the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and Tokyo 2020, and Masato Mizuno, Vice President of the JOC and CEO of Tokyo 2020, will lead the delegation of distinguished members.

Takeda said before his departure: "This annual OCA General Assembly is always a valuable opportunity to meet my many friends from Asia, and it is a real pleasure to share with them the latest update of our bid activity. Meeting face-to-face with OCA members will enable us to collect invaluable insight as we finalise our Candidature File. I look forward to collaborating with OCA members closely to further build the Olympic Movement together here in Asia, and of course also contribute the valuable insight I've gained through the Games bidding journey."

http://www.sportsfea...sembly-in-macau

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