Phelps' coach backs Istanbul to host "outstanding" Olympic Games
Friday, 14 December 2012
December 14 - Istanbul's hosting of the FINA World Short Course Championships has already received major global acclaim, with the likes of Bob Bowman - coach to the most decorated Olympian of all time, America's Michael Phelps - going so far as to endorse the Turkish city's 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid.
More than 160 National Federations have sent over 900 of the sport's top athletes to the event here, which is being hosted in Europe's largest multi-purpose indoor sports arena, and which started on Wednesday (December 12).
The Dome has already played host to Serena Williams' WTA Championships victory this winter; its transformation into an elite swimming arena, complete with demountable pool, took just seven days.
"I have been really impressed with these world-class Championships here in Istanbul; the level of organisation and support from the crowds and media has been fantastic," Bowman said here.
"There is no doubt that Istanbul has a real appetite and passion for international sports events and I am convinced that this iconic city would make an outstanding host of the Olympic Games."
His comments will come as a boost to Istanbul, which is currently involved in a bid race with Madrid and Tokyo for the 2020 Games.
Earlier this year, Mark Spitz, whose record of seven Olympic gold medals in a single Games Phelps broke in Beijing in 2008, had also backed Istanbul's bid.
"The FINA World Championships is going to be another elite sports competition that combines world-class conditions for athletes and their teams with the unique flavour of Istanbul," said Hasan Arat, the leader of Istanbul 2020.
"Our major events so far this year have been hugely successful: the WTA Championships set record aggregate and average attendances and the IAAF World Championships was a total sell-out.
"Turkey is building up a strong pool of event-hosting capacity, and Istanbul 2020 is tapping into it.
"Time and again, we are proving ourselves trusted, effective hosts of world sport's top properties."
July 2012: Olympic legend backs Istanbul 2020