By Duncan Mackay

September 3 - The leaders from the four cities bidding to host the 2016 Olympics were all trying to find positives from the report published yesterday by the International Olympic Committee's Evaluation Commission, with each of them claiming that they had come out on top.

The city that had the most reason to feel buoyant was Rio de Janeiro, who appeared to score the highest in a number of areas and suffer the least criticism in the Report released to coincide with a month to go until the IOC members vote on which city should host 2016 at its Session in Copenhagen on October 2.

Carlos Nuzman, the President of the bid, told insidethegames that he now believed they were in pole position to become the first South American city ever to host the Games.

He said: "The IOC report is a real boost to the Rio bid.

"They have provided a very strong confirmation of our Games plan and vision.

"It is fair to say Rio has a very positive report, and possibly the most favourable.

"We didn't have any red points.

“We are delighted that the report reflects the fact that our bid is based on the long-term planning and development of Brazil with full finance and guarantees from all three levels of Government.

“With exactly one month to go until the vote in Copenhagen, we are confident that Rio would deliver unforgettable Olympic and Paralympic Games that have the power to transform the country and continent.

"We are looking forward to the final presentation and bringing our story and our compelling proposal to life with the participation of our bid team including President Lula himself.”

Chicago, for long the bookmakers favourite, are now trying to be positive about the fact they have slipped from that position.

Their failure to sign the Host City contract, which will protect the IOC from any financial losses, is criticised in the Report but the City Council is expected to vote in a deal next week which will allow the Mayor Richard Daley to sign it if Chicago is awarded the Games.

Pat Ryan (pictured), the chief executive and chairman of Chicago's bid, said: “We have a lot of momentum.

"We feel we’re in a perfect position.

"Nobody’s saying we’re the favourite, and that’s good."
Chicago's bid has been hit by a series of problems involving the United States Olympic Committee, whose decision to set-up its own Olympic television channel threatened to cause a major rift with the IOC before it was resolved last month.

But Ryan claimed that Chicago's ability to keep bouncing back from setbacks would appeal to the IOC members.

He said:  "Ideally you wish they hadn’t have happened.

"When you show you can resolve problems that are getting in your way it shows that you can be a great partner [to stage the Olympics]."

Madrid, whose bid was directly criticised in the Evaluation Report for its planned management and administrative structure which it was claimed could result in organisational and financial challenges if they were awarded the Games and for some of its proposed venues, claimed that they had been ranked top.

Madrid's Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardón said: "Our bid has been strengthened because we are the least criticised and the city which has received most praise from the IOC.

"Madrid is the city which has the most popular support."

Ruiz-Gallardón said that the IOC only reflected on two aspects of the Madrid bid which need improvement and said, “these are perfectly achievable before 2 October”, since they deal with administration rather than major infrastructure problems.

Tokyo, who suffered low public support and were criticised by the Evaluation Commission over venues that they claimed were already built did not exist, also attempted to put a rosy complexion on the report it received.

Dr Ichiro Kono, the chairman and chief executive of Tokyo's 2016 Olympic bid team, said:  "The report praises Tokyo 2016 for promoting of a 'contemporary Games' and the fact that our 'vision combines vitality and sustainability, heritage and innovation', and creates "a 100-year Olympic legacy'.

"We have worked very hard to respond to IOC feedback since the Commission's visit to April.

"We are confident we already have a plan that will fully satisfy all challenges and demonstrate our ability to be their most reliable and dependable partner."

Related stories:
September 2009:
IOC Evaluation Report seems to favour Rio in race for 2016 Olympics