Mike Stubbs: IOC decision brings up an Olympic-sized concern
The decision to award Paris the 2024 Summer Olympics and Los Angeles the 2028 Summer Games was made in a very positive way.
The International Olympic Committee painted a beautiful picture of a show of hands and a unanimous decision. There were no closed ballots. There was no secrecy.
Instead, there were smiles and there were handshakes. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo actually had tears in her eyes.
But there was something that looked a little too much like a community theatre production of Les Miserables.
No reason was given right away for why the IOC awarded two games at once for the first time ever.
Is it too much to imagine that the reason they went completely outside their box is quite simple?
When the bidding process began for the 2024 games, there were five cities that came forward with interest.
It didn’t take long for three of those cities to pull the plug on the idea. Boston seemed popular as the United States’ choice, but they claimed low public support caused them to reconsider.
Eventually, the IOC was left with two remaining bids. One from Paris. One from Los Angeles.
They could have done what the committee has always done. They could have chosen one of the two, declared a winner and moved along to the champagne and caviar portion of the evening.
Only, they didn’t.
No one outside the members of the IOC know the exact answer to that and it could be as innocent as what IOC President, Thomas Bach proclaimed when he said he couldn’t bear to see either city lose.
Or, it could be that the International Olympic Committee was afraid that if they declared a winner and a loser, the loser might not be all that interested in going through the bidding process again and the committee could be left scrounging and perhaps begging for their next potential host.
Award each city a Games now and you extend your own stay for a little while longer.
Hosting is excruciatingly expensive and no one with political aspirations beyond next week ever seems overly interested in risking the potential pitfall that the Games can be. Pictures from Athens, Sochi and even Rio de Janeiro suggest many things in the aftermath that are not pretty.
The IOC has another issue as well. There are more than rumbles about alleged vote-buying and selling that may have played a part in Rio getting the Games in 2016.
If the suggestions end up being true to the tune of another late-90s type scandal, then what?
If that is about to blow, then the hope may be that this manoeuvre gives that enough time to blow over.
The IOC may have pulled off the equivalent of a soccer festival with their latest announcement where no one has to lose and no one is keeping score, but you had better believe they are keeping a few tally charts in the background.
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Some very intelligent minds who pay very close attention to the past, present and future of the Olympic Games have made suggestions.
One idea is to find a rotation of hosts, either on individual continents or just on a rotation, period.
If the allure of thousands of guests and millions in expenditures isn’t enough to entice more than two bidders for the next go-around, then IOC members would be foolish not to solicit a little of that kind of external help.
Their event and their position may no longer carry the power that they like the world to believe it does.
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