Tokyo in 2020.
Yes, I will admit it. I am such a sports geek that I even get excited about the Olympics selection process. Part of it is that more and more it allows you to see the business side of sports-things that I have a better shot of doing as compared to the actual Olympic sports. But in general, it’s neat to see what cities are bidding, what kind of bids they put together, and how things unfold.
Looking at the 2020 bids, you had Tokyo squaring off against Istanbul and Madrid. Each of these cities offered something special-they had to in order to make it this far into the selection process. But each potential host city also offered some degree of risk, and after the results came in, the IOC was pretty clear in their thinking: the safest city won out.
Madrid was Spain’s attempt to get the Olympics for the first time since the Barcelona games in 1992.
Unfortunately for the Spanish delegation, the IOC looks at the broader picture. After Olympics host cities in the recent past have had financial issues in terms of completing venues, the committee is more and more in tune with a bid city’s financial situation, and right now, Madrid-and Spain as a whole-are not in the most fiscally reassuring position. As good as their bid package might have been, and as nice as it could have been to bring the Olympics back to Spain for the first time in nearly 30 years, Spaniards will have to wait until at least 2024.
Istanbul, my personal favorite heading into the selections, fell victim to the current geopolitical climate. For starters, it’s neighboring country Syria isn’t exactly being peaceful right about now. While a lot can chance in a little less than 7 years, the International Olympic Committee lives in the here and now. If they had the benefit of having a crystal ball of course these bids would go differently, but they don’t. Right or wrong, what’s going on in their neighboring country and how it is impacting Turkey most definitely had to weigh on the voters.
Tokyo had concerns going into the bidding, as Japan is still dealing with the aftermath of Fukushima, However, the IOC was persuaded by the Tokyo bid and its Olympic committee members that it would not be an issue in 7 years time. Ultimately, the Tokyo bid was the safest. And that won out over a country who has not hosted ever, and one which hasn’t hosted in almost three decades.
What is possibly most telling in the aftermath is that Madrid, already in financial trouble, must now figure out how to plug the financial holes without the coming Olympic games. And many of Istanbul’s residents actually took to the streets to celebrate the rejected bid. So, it would seem at first blush that the IOC got this one right.
In other news coming out of the Buenos Aires conference, Olympic wrestling will remain in both 2020 and 2024, after previously being recommended for elimination. Baseball, softball and squash were not voted into either of those Olympic games.
And, just think. Just about 5 months remain until the Sochi Winter Olympics.