January 15 - Rome officials remain confident Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti (pictured) will give the green light to the city's bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics despite the country having its credit rating downgraded as it continues to try to recover from its serious economic crisis.
Italy was among nine European countries who ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the Government debt on Friday (January 13).
The downgrades, which also affects Spain, where Madrid are bidding for the Olympic for a third consecutive time, deal a blow to the Italy's ability to fight off a worsening debt crisis.
Italy's €1.9 trillion (£1.5 trillion/$2.4 trillion) Government debt and heavy borrowing has made it a focal point of the European debt crisis after Greece.
The credit rating downgrade came only a day after Rome officials, led by International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president Mario Pescante, had made a presentation to Monti which claimed that a successul Olympic bid could help relaunch its troubled economy by boosting the country's GDP by 1.4 per cent.
"The reaction [to the report] was very positive from the two senates [Chamber of Deputies, which is the lower house, and the Senate of the Republic, the upper house]," Ernesto Albanese (pictured), the managing director of Rome 2020, told insidethegames here where he is attending the first-ever Winter Youth Olympic Games.
"Mr Monti was more prudent, but that is his style."
Monti - a former European Commissioner and academic economist - has a reputation for being a technocrat whose decisions are not influenced by party politics.
"He went through our figures line-by-line," said Albanese.
"He asked for the full document - which is 200 pages - and said, 'I want to go through every single page and I shall contact you shortly after I have analysed the results and I have spoken to colleagues.'
"I think it is the right approach that Italy needs at this time - to be more prudent, more concrete, with a major analysis.
"That is Mr Monti's style."
But, with the two Houses of the Parlamento Italiano seemingly enthusiastic about the bid and high poll ratings across the country, Albanese is sure that Monti will approve the bid before the Applicant File is due to be delivered to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on February 15.
"The technical work is made, the document is ready, even the look and feel is ready now," he said.
"What we need now is to complete the political part.
"There is enough time to do that."
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January 2012: "Nothing better than the Olympics to relaunch Italian economy" claim Rome 2020
October 2011: Rome 2020 appoints lead technical partner
October 2011: Rome appoints Helios Partners to work on 2020 Olympic bid
July 2011: Rome Mayor claims 2020 Olympic bid has 97 per cent support
February 2011: Pescante confirmed as leader of Rome 2020 Olympic bid and picks out Tokyo as main rival