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Tokyo bidders increase push to host 2016 Olympics

AP | KAORI HITOMI | Posted 05.25.2011 | Home

Tokyo should host the 2016 Olympics because it has the most compact set up, the most experience and will be the best stage for the world's athletes, one of Japan's top sports figures and bid backers said Thursday.

Mikako Kotani, an Olympic bronze medalist in synchronized swimming and the head of the athletes' commission for the Tokyo 2016 bid committee, said she has big hopes that Japan's capital will beat out Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Madrid when the final decision is made on the host site next Friday.

"We have the experience to make the competition go smoothly," she said in an interview with The Associated Press, noting that Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Games. "We will be using some stadiums and venues from 1964. ... It will be very special for the Japanese athletes and for the younger generation."

Kotani, who won her bronze in Seoul in 1988, said that Tokyo's plans would have all the athletes staying within 10 minutes of their competition venues, a factor she expected will boost performances by allowing the Olympians more time to focus on their sports and less on traveling.

"As an athlete, this is very important," she said.