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US track great Lewis backs Tokyo 2020 bid

Updated: 2013-04-06 08:08
By Reuters in Tokyo ( China Daily)

US track great Lewis backs Tokyo 2020 bid

Multiple Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis has backed Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, hailing the Japanese city's strong pedigree for organizing big sporting events.

Tokyo is competing with Istanbul and Madrid to host the Olympics for a second time after becoming the first Asian city to host the multi-sport event in 1964.

Lewis, a nine-time Olympic champion, visited Japan's National Stadium late last month, a venue where he set two world records at the 1991 world athletics championships and narrowly lost arguably the greatest long jump final to compatriot Mike Powell.

"I have obviously tremendous memories of that and that was without question my best track meet ever," Lewis told Reuters Television at the track.

"But for me it was more fitting because Japan had been the one place I've been to the most in my career, they've been the most supportive in my career outside the United States.

"I will be at the 2020 Games wherever it is, and I hope it's here."

The International Olympic Committee will decide on the host at a meeting in Argentina in September, with Tokyo's bid strengthened by having the majority of the proposed venues already built.

The 80,000-capacity national stadium, though, will undergo a $1 billion space-age makeover and be completed in time to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup with the famed sprinter looking forward to seeing the results.

"Japan has always been a high-tech community and I think it would be a showcase stadium, probably more high-tech than any stadium that's ever been made, and I think it will be a great place to be," the 51-year-old said.

Having lost out to Rio de Janeiro in its 2016 bid, Japanese media have been wary to jump on early praise received this month from IOC officials who said they were "hugely impressed" by the Tokyo bid.

(China Daily 04/06/2013 page11)

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