Rome chosen over Venice for 2020 Olympic bid

ROME (AP) — Rome was selected as Italy's bid city for the 2020 Summer Olympics on Wednesday, after Venice was dropped before a vote by the Italian Olympic Committee.

Rome hosted the 1960 Games and was upset by Athens in the voting for the 2004 Games.

Venice was eliminated from contention before the final vote, with an internal CONI evaluation committee ruling the bid insufficient. With the vote a formality, Rome won 68-1.

"You've always got to start with your feet firmly on the ground, but this is a strong bid," CONI president Giovanni Petrucci said. "This time we've got a good chance. It's going to be difficult, but not impossible."

Rome proposed a budget of $61 million, with a bid that includes 70 percent existing venues.

The bid is focused on two areas, the Foro Italico that was the center of the 1960 Games and features the 80,000-seat Stadio Olimpico, and a new sports center in Tor Vergata on the outskirts of Rome that is under construction.

The Tor Vergata center was originally scheduled to host last year's swimming world championships, but it was not completed in time and the championships were held at the Foro Italico.

Venice bid director Federico Fantini called CONI's decision a "political choice."

"We're going out with our heads held high," Fantini said. "We know we did everything we could have and we believe Venice would have been an ideal partner for CONI. But now we wish that Roma goes as far as possible."

Other potentials bids for 2020 could come from South Africa (Durban, Johannesburg or Cape Town); Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Tokyo or Hiroshima, Japan; Istanbul; and Budapest, Hungary.

The International Olympic Committee will decide on the host in 2013.

Italy has five IOC members, more than any other country.