I’ve always had a fascination with the Olympics. I have not been to an Olympics game, but there’s something awe-inspiring to me about the games. The dedication of those athletes who trained or overcame obstacles to come to the biggest international athletics stage. The competition. The camaraderie. The talent. Whenever I travel to a former Olympics host city, I always make an effort to visit the Olympics sites. These included the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista in Los Angeles, and sites in Sydney, Athens and Beijing.
IOC and Scandals
Sadly, the IOC (International Olympics Committee) and its bidding process have been marred by news of scandals. In addition, the cost overruns often associated with building out the infrastructure for these games also paints the games into a negative light, so much so that some potential host cities are withdrawing their bids for the games.
I came across the headline that the “Olympic Venue in Rio De Janeiro are Falling Apart” last month. I can’t say that I was surprised by it, either. It seemed to me that host cities don’t have concrete plans for these facilities after the games. I still remembered passing by some of the Olympics sites in Athens during a tour. It was actually quite a sad sight to see some of the buildings in a state of dis-repair. Graffiti were scrawled on some of the buildings.
What Should IOC Do Next?
I love the spirit behind the Olympics games. However, I think it’s time the IOC requires bidders to put forth proposals that scales back on the the cost, look for ways to use existing infrastructure, or find ways to re-purpose newly built facilities after the games. A often touted benefit of these games is that they are expected to also bring economic benefits and development to the host cities. Yet, it seemed to have fallen short of its promises if we are looking at Athens or Rio.
Why should the IOC make changes? Because the reputation and the prestige of the Olympic games depend on it. We’ve already seen cities drop their bids in part because of concerns around potential cost overruns. For spectacular competitions that last for only two weeks, the cost of a mismanagement has a very real impact on its residents for years to come.
There are no immediate disruptions since Olympics host cities are awarded years ahead of time. The hosts of the upcoming Olympic games are:
- 2018 Winter Olympics, hosted by Pyeonchang, South Korea
- 2020 Summer Olympics, hosted by Japan (I saw some signage when I visited Tokyo last year)
- 2022 Winter Olympics, hosted by Beijing
- 2024 Summer Olympics, hosted by either Paris or Los Angeles (the two host cities still up for bid)
The last time the US hosted an Olympics games was in Winter of 2002 in Utah, so it would have been over 20 years since the last Olympics is held in the states. As lovely as Paris is, I would love for Los Angeles to win the 2024 bid. Los Angeles wants to host the Olympics and have hosted it successfully before. I bet it could do it again.