18 May 2009

Olympic Cities 2016

I know it's only May, but I think I'm allowed to get excited for the election of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games host, on October 2nd in Copenhagen.

October is set to be a good month, what with this AND the Bad Religion show two days later.

The candidate cities for 2016 are Tokyo, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Chicago. Other cities previously eliminated included Baku, Doha and Prague. Quite an interesting mix, although in the last few days a friend and I have been researching previous Olympic bids and been quite surprised.

Current IOC President, Jacques Rogge, has a goal of bringing change to the current Olympics. It's a huge financial and logistical undertaking for the city involved, and for that reason places like Beijing, London and Atlanta have previously been chosen - places with millions of dollars, and in Beijing's case, a place where virtual slave labour was used to get everything together on time. We all remember those Olympics (apart from the fact that they were less than a year ago). It was a showcase of opulence, perfection, and an overall triumph for the Chinese capital. But at the same time, there was also that whole fiasco with the little girl whose voice was used in the opening ceremony because she wasn't considered "cute" enough, as well as a few other scandals that popped up during the course of the Games.

Rogge wants to take a step away from the Olympic host having tonnes of money to pour into the event. London, for example, has already stated it has no intention of trying to match the splendour that was Beijing. The logo will probably convince you of that. It's so bizarre that advertisements for the Olympics last year were taken off television in some places because the bright colours and flashing were causing epileptic fits. Weird. Rogge says while there is no "timetable" to put in places his wishes for an Olympic Games to be held in Africa or South America, it seems that with Rio in the top four, this might be a good time.

And why not? Brazilians may not have a lot of money, but we know they can put on a show. We've all seen photos from Carnaval! Brazil is also one of the most beautiful places on earth. Rio successfully held the Pan-American Games in 2007, which bodes well for their Olympic bid.

Chicago, which was just strangely described to me by an acquaintance as a "front runner", is probably my least favourite of the four cities to win. Not because I don't like Chicago - I LOVE Chicago. It's where my best friend lives, and even though it's ever so slightly windy, it's a cool place. But I'm just kind of against the USA having another Olympics for a few years. Atlanta wasn't even that great. As for it's "being a frontrunner", I'm not convinced. Basically, in the Olympic race, there are never front runners until election day. Strangely, for the 2008 election, Toronto was runner up. Can you imagine? If it had been Toronto 2008? It would have just been so weird. And more likely that my favourite would win this time.

My favourite for 2016 is Tokyo, who in fact has the highest score leading up to the election. Yeah, yeah. Predictable, I know. But come on! Japan is cool. They have all-important money, but more importantly, they have style. And technology. I wasn't a fan of the "Bird's Nest" or the "Water Cube" in Beijing, and I know those Japanese architects could come up with something way cooler. My only qualm would be the Open Water Swim and Triathlon... you just don't know about the sea up there. That said, you just know that the organisation of the Games, especially transport (which was a biggie in Athens... trust me, I was there) would be unparalleled. And hello? Can you say free sushi in the dining hall? Yes please.

Madrid is an interesting one because the 1992 Olympics were held in Barcelona. So far, the Barcelona event has been the benchmark for organisational excellence, and I know for a fact I remember these Games better than any others I've been alive for (that's Seoul, Atlanta, Syndey and Beijing, in case you were wondering). Because I'm narrow-minded, I haven't actually done much research on their current bid. Madrid fared well in the 2012 bidding, and while Paris was a runner up then, the city thought it enough to apply again for 2016. Former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch is a supporter of Madrid's campaign.

What's your pick?


  1. Living in Japan myself, I see every day in the news how driven and motivated Tokyo is to winning the bid. Sometimes it looks like it has already been decided. I am sure that Tokyo 2016 will out-do any London, beijing, Barcelona and Madrid, Rio, and Chicago for that matter.

  2. awesome!! I hope you're right. it will be like a dream come true. :-)