Istanbul 2020: Opening Ceremony to Suit Athletes and Fans Alike

July 25, 2013

By Keir Radnedge

Half a million people will see the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 summer Games live if Istanbul’s Olympic dream becomes reality when the IOC votes on Buenos Aires on September 7.

The Turks appear to have come up with solutions to resolve the issues which flutter around the event – such as:

1: How can a sports organisation expect the world’s top athletes to stand around kicking their heels for hours on end; and

2: How to open up the event to a city residents who are footing much of the bill in one way or another, ambulance direct or indirect?

Hasan Arat, chairman of the bid effort doing battle with Madrid and Tokyo for the IOC’s favour, explained the Istanbul opening concept at the Glaziers Hall in London today.

He said: “We want as many of the citizens of Istanbul as possible to enjoy the Opening Ceremony and we will also have all the athletes seated. We will reserve 10,000 seats for those who wish and can attend.

“If they want to go then they can go and if they want to stay and watch they can remain.”

Various viewing locations on both Asian and European banks of the Bosphorus will be have big-screen view of the close-up detail plus all the actual effect of the fireworks and laser shows.

Arat added: “The Opening Ceremony will have the unique historical backdrop of the Bosphorus. This was our dream from the very beginning of the bidding process and it is getting a very good response.”

The horseshoe-shaped stadium at the heart of the Haydarpasa port regeneration project on the Asian bank would open on to the Bosphorus and look across to the old city.

A modular design would facilitate the stadium’s reduction after the Games to a 20,000-capacity amphitheatre in a culture and leisure park.

Arat is also confident that all the proposals for venues – beyond anything the Olympics needs – and transport will meet all the IOC criteria. He also believes that the outstanding city popularity polls will have improve still further in the next weeks.

Arat was flying through London on his way to keep the Istanbul message in the faces of the movers and shakers in international sport with further dates in his diary at the FINA finals in Barcelona and then the World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

He has been  re-energised – if he needed it – by the London connection ahead of the celebrations a year on from the city’s Olympic Games.

Anniversary inspiration

Arat said: “It’s an exciting time to be in London at the anniversary here of, in my opinion, the greatest Olympic Games ever.

“So much of our work has been inspired by London 2012. Last summer’s Games was the turning point for our bid. We are grateful to Lord Coe and his team for inspiring us and setting a new benchmark of excellence.

“Istanbul faces many of the same challenges London so we have developed a Games plan which guarantees excellence service for all client groups but mixes in the Istanbul magic.”

That magic will need to be exercised to full power in the run-up to the 2020 vote in Buenos Aires.