Radiation! Violent protests! Spaniards! Welcome to 2020.
August 26, 2013 12:59 AM   Subscribe

IS ☻ JAPAN COOL?! The International Olympic Committee votes in 15 days on whether Tokyo, Istanbul or Madrid will host the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, and major efforts are underway to cajole the committee. Promotional videos have been released, royalty, major sports figures, and robotic cats have been dragged out. A few nasty remarks have been flung, which were subsequently dismissed. Meanwhile, activists, petitioners, protesters, and economic instability are potentially hurting the Olympic bids in Madrid, Istanbul, and Tokyo, Turkey has experienced a major doping scandal, and radiation continues to leak from Fukushima. And what would the Olympics be without a logo design failure?!
posted by markkraft (73 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm going to write them a threatening letter saying that if they pick Tokyo, we'll keep having our politicians say horribly racist shit to the world. Wonder if it'll work...
posted by GoingToShopping at 1:06 AM on August 26, 2013


PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON'T CHOOSE TOKYO PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:09 AM on August 26, 2013 [14 favorites]


You should feel lucky, Flapjax! You could Airbnb your crowded Tokyo apartment for a few weeks at an exorbitant rate and afford to go on a fully paid vacation, I would suspect!

(Alternately, you could always have a bunch of MeFites crashing on your floor the whole time.)
posted by markkraft at 1:18 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


With its giant dancers and airships it seems like Istanbul is a shoe-in, though Japan's sakura logo is pretty.
posted by NoraReed at 1:21 AM on August 26, 2013


The Tomonews take on this is pretty amusing to watch, regardless of whether you know what they're saying or not.
posted by markkraft at 1:39 AM on August 26, 2013


It's all such a waste of money. Most "olympic legacy" justifications are just hot air.

At least in Japan the stadium can be used to store mysterious god-like children.
posted by BinaryApe at 1:39 AM on August 26, 2013 [22 favorites]


In what world is "MAID CAFE" an example of "cool" instead of "creepy?"
Why don't they just throw in "chikan," "mimikaki," and "uyoku" too?
posted by GoingToShopping at 1:41 AM on August 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Current odds.
posted by Wordshore at 1:42 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


"In what world is "MAID CAFE" an example of "cool" instead of "creepy?""

In the part of the world that's not in Japan!
posted by markkraft at 1:53 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, the odds look good for Tokyo. Tokyoites? Not so much.
posted by zardoz at 2:08 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Minor quibble: the logo failure doesn't say "20020", it says "M 20" in a cursive type of script. It's still a failure because that's not obvious, but if they changed it around a little to clear that up, it would be nice.

(Almost completely off topic rant: a store is planning to open Aug. 30, and has billboards promoting the same. However, the billboard says "August 3O". (Capital o instead of zero.) I can't tell if this is a genius move to get people to notice the sign, or complete incompetence.)

My prediction is Istanbul: They did far East in 2008 with Beijing, classic West in 2012 with London, South America in 2016 with Rio, so going middle Eastern in 2020 seems like a good bet. They've done Tokyo and Madrid before already, and in the spirit of the olympics being a whole-world, inclusive gathering, choosing a secular muslim country seems like a slam dunk.

Tilting at windmills: Chicago 2024!
posted by gjc at 2:54 AM on August 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


gjc: "My prediction is Istanbul: They did far East in 2008 with Beijing, classic West in 2012 with London, South America in 2016 with Rio, so going middle Eastern in 2020 seems like a good bet."
Nice theory, except for the part where Istanbul is in Europe ...
posted by brokkr at 2:59 AM on August 26, 2013


No no no. Please not Tokyo. I couldn't stand the smug leer on Ishihara's face if we won the bid...
posted by jet_manifesto at 3:11 AM on August 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just glad Amsterdam isn't an option, though plenty of fools seem willing to make it one next time.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:21 AM on August 26, 2013


Detroit - it's got it all
posted by fallingbadgers at 3:37 AM on August 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


What's the difference between the Olympics coming to your city and velodrome-building locusts descending on your city, really.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 3:41 AM on August 26, 2013 [14 favorites]


If hosting the Olympics is such a big boon for a city, why wouldn't Detroit host it?
posted by Harald74 at 3:43 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's the earliest Olympic event, where cities act like corporations bidding for another corporation's big-dollar contract. Promises of impossible deliverables (remember how Beijing was going to be "as pollution-free as Paris"?), massively-inflated revenue estimates, minimization of adverse impact estimates - it's like Keystone XL. The whole logo thing is like when ExxonMobil tries to rebrand itself. Then when the Games finally begin, and the Home Depot team takes on the Rest Of The World, we get to be all jingoistically proud when our employee-athletes show off their productivity.

You know - sport.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:13 AM on August 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


What's the difference between the Olympics coming to your city and velodrome-building locusts descending on your city, really.
That depends on whether Danny Boyle is involved.
posted by fullerine at 4:20 AM on August 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Japan World Cup 3 :P
it's a horse race!
posted by kliuless at 4:20 AM on August 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


gjc, they changed the original logo design, where you can read M20. I don't know why they changed it, the original design looked good to me.
posted by Pendragon at 4:24 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


That depends on whether Danny Boyle is involved.

Word. The London Olympics opening ceremony was, unexpectedly, almost shockinginly, full of many wondrous and positive things. So strangely, oddly un-British.

The rest of the games: meh. Actually I can't remember any of the rest of the games. Only bits of the opening ceremony.
posted by Wordshore at 4:34 AM on August 26, 2013


brokkr: Nice theory, except for the part where Istanbul is in Europe ...

Nah, about a third of Istanbulites live on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.

Presumably a number of the sports venues would be located there.
posted by dontjumplarry at 4:37 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


What could possibly go wrong with a major construction complex in Istanbul, a city that was not at all rocked by protestors and cries of corruption months ago?

I love Istanbul but I do not see it as a city that could undertake an Olympic complex right now, not least of all because every time you stick a shovel in the ground, Byzantine stones come tumbling out
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:01 AM on August 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Please, no, not Japan. I'm not thrilled with the idea of watching them trot out the crowd control demos they did (and didn't have to use, at all) during the World Cup. "Ooh, look at our enhanced techniques for dealing with rowdy gaijin! Look! We bought special, larger than normal handcuffs for there larger, uncomfortably hairy wrists!"

That, and I love you guys, but seriously, you're just going to be in the way while I commute.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:35 AM on August 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


It is too soon for another Olympics in Europe (Barcelona was 1992). Also, Paris in 2024 seems like a real possibility and two successive summer Olympics in Western Europe doesn't make sense. So, I say no to Madrid.
posted by Area Man at 5:39 AM on August 26, 2013


That, and I love you guys, but seriously, you're just going to be in the way while I commute.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:35 AM on August 26 [+] [!]


Eponysterical!
posted by selfnoise at 5:58 AM on August 26, 2013


I always thought it was down to whichever city could bribe the old men at the IOC the best. Cynical yes, but we're talking about the IOC.
posted by Ber at 6:00 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


My mother worked as a admin assistant for a partner in a globally known accounting firm and they were approached by the city's Olympic Bid committee to come onboard. They wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.

When people who eat $250 burgers for lunch think you're too corrupt to associate with you have to be worse than Caligula.
posted by srboisvert at 6:08 AM on August 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


It is too soon for another Olympics in Europe (Barcelona was 1992).

Sorry, I meant to say another Olympics in Spain. Obviously, there have been other olympics in Europe since 1992.
posted by Area Man at 6:08 AM on August 26, 2013


So how does it work now? The IOC picks a handful of cities and basically goes "Nice city you got there. Be a shame if an Olympics was to happen to it." and then the cities involved bid against each other to pay them to stay the fuck away until one of them runs out of money and the Olympics come and shit all over them?

Because that's how it should work.
posted by Naberius at 6:16 AM on August 26, 2013 [18 favorites]


I looked at the wikipedia page for the 2024 olympics and saw the claim that Minneapolis / St. Paul was one of the U.S. cities that might have a bid. I broke out laughing. I love where I live, but that's just silly.
posted by Area Man at 6:21 AM on August 26, 2013


Keep:
馬場馬術
terbiyesi
dressage
dressage


Discard:
レスリング
güreş
lucha
wrestling

For those of us here in the states though, it doesn't really matter who gets it. The only event that NBC/Comcast is interested in presenting are the Schmoopy-Doopy Gold Medal Human Interest Stories as opposed to the actual sports. The Olympics may as well be held on Mars because all we see is Bob Costas. (And of course this is if you have a cable premium service.)

I will spend time with a book for those weeks. It is really hard to get too excited about about anything related to the Olympics anymore. Other than the date of the closing ceremonies as being the point that I won't have to hear about it for a few more years.
posted by lampshade at 6:23 AM on August 26, 2013


It is really hard to get too excited about about anything related to the Olympics anymore.

Yeah, I remember being interested in high school, but really how can I have any positive feelings about something which is such a roaming disaster anymore?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 6:28 AM on August 26, 2013


For those of us here in the states though, it doesn't really matter who gets it. The only event that NBC/Comcast is interested in presenting are the Schmoopy-Doopy Gold Medal Human Interest Stories as opposed to the actual sports. The Olympics may as well be held on Mars because all we see is Bob Costas. (And of course this is if you have a cable premium service.)

With the NBC Olympics app on my iPad, I was able to watch lots of sporting events from the Beijing olympics without having to sit through the nonsense included in the prime time NBC coverage. It was pretty great.
posted by Area Man at 6:31 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm hopeful that this is the prelude to an awesome Gojirra movie.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:32 AM on August 26, 2013


"For those of us here in the states though, it doesn't really matter who gets it. The only event that NBC/Comcast is interested in presenting..."

If you want better television, dump the cable part of your Comcast service, return your cable box, hook something approaching a real computer to your TV, and stream / torrent everything. But only legally, 'k?!

Hola + BBC Interactive and suddenly your TV coverage becomes a surprising combination between relaxing and smart.

Last time I contacted Comcast, they practically begged to send me out another box, and offered me free local stations. It's been a few months, but I still haven't found a good reason to install it.
posted by markkraft at 6:39 AM on August 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


the claim that Minneapolis / St. Paul was one of the U.S. cities that might have a bid

It's got twice the population of Sochi; it could happen. Better start practicing the warding spells now.
posted by echo target at 6:39 AM on August 26, 2013


guys someone needs to link that Maruhan "Tokyo Olympics supporter" commercial where they imply that a lady's finger explodes
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:42 AM on August 26, 2013


While the London logo seemed pretty bad at first, I think in application alongside the whole identity it actually worked pretty well. I sort of liked it by the end of the 2012 games. It can be hard to judge the logo in isolation.
posted by stopgap at 6:52 AM on August 26, 2013


"It can be hard to judge the logo in isolation."

Bart and Lisa.
posted by markkraft at 6:55 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think to continue the IOC's progressive evolvement of human rights, they should have the 2020 Olympics in Riyadh. Or maybe Pyongyang. I mean, where do you from Beijing and Sochi?

Folks joke about Detroit above but it made serious bids for the Olympics in the 1940s–1960s. Here's a retrospective on the 1968 bid.
posted by Nelson at 7:13 AM on August 26, 2013


From teh wiki on the 2024 games:

...the USOC sent out letters to the mayors of 35 cities to gauge their interest in hosting the 2024 Olympics. Some of the cities included were Atlanta, Boston, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Memphis, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Miami, St. Louis, San Diego, Sacramento, Seattle, Charlotte, Portland, Phoenix, Columbus, Orlando, Nashville, Rochester and Indianapolis...

No offense to Rochester -- its a nice town, each time I've been there, but c'mon, USOC. Still, it'd be nice to see it, in a perverse sort of way, even just to piss Toronto off. And Toronto, sorry, but your infrastructure just can't handle it. The Gardiner won't make it to 2024, much less handle Olympic traffic. An Olympics would absolutely ruin Pittsburgh.

So many places where you could only wish than an Olympics never, ever happens...
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:52 AM on August 26, 2013


If hosting the Olympics is such a big boon for a city, why wouldn't Detroit host it?

It's be an interesting test of all the standard Olympics-selling-points, of jobs and infrastructure and legacy. Combine that with Detroit's need for redevelopment and a massive injection of cash...

You have readily-available land you can develop pretty much any way you want, which allows you to rebuild the city much more in line with its current demands and capabilities, and you have lots of local people willing to work. The existing highway network is extensive, and can probably handle the pressure as much as any city can.

But seeings as how the IOC members and their wives probably don't want to spend so much time in a city without a Fendi or a Prada store, it's an academic question. Still, it'd be great to put the standard selling points to a real test. Do Olympics actually make money? Do they really leave the legacy improvements they promise?
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:03 AM on August 26, 2013


With the NBC Olympics app on my iPad, I was able to watch lots of sporting events from the Beijing olympics without having to sit through the nonsense included in the prime time NBC coverage. It was pretty great.

They changed it for London so that you had to have a cable or satellite subscription to get that stuff. Also if you wanted to watch a major event where an American had a good chance to medal, you had to wait for the inane prime time coverage.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:06 AM on August 26, 2013


Of course, the real reason that Tokyo wants the Olympics is to provide a suitable cover for Japan's ongoing AKIRA project.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:09 AM on August 26, 2013


The IOC and FIFA seem to be in a contest to see who can orchestrate the biggest sports/public infrastructure boondoggle of all time.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:47 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Welcome to 2020

I tend to have the same immediate response to these stories.

Really? There's still going to be a functional planet earth in such-and-such year less than a decade away? It just seems so optimistic.

And then time goes by, the event happens, I get even older. This Apocalypse thing sure is slow.
posted by philip-random at 8:51 AM on August 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Who gives a shit. If the Olympics go forward in Sochi, I'll NEVER watch them again. Fuck the IOC.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:57 AM on August 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's still going to be a functional planet earth in such-and-such year less than a decade away?

I guess that really depends on where you are.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 9:09 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a hunch it'll be Istanbul. Tokyo did a good job promoting, and Japan is certainly cool, but I just feel like we're kind of already at "Japan saturation" point. Madrid could really use the hosting and in my opinion would theoretically be a great choice, but they flubbed badly on pretty much all of their promotion. Istanbul clearly aggressively wants it, have done a good job promoting, and the Middle East in general is kind of "culturally hot" right now. So yeah, I'm thinking they'll go with Istanbul, even though I'd personally like to see poor Madrid get it.
posted by quincunx at 9:16 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


nth-ing "please not Tokyo." Japan has my most-favoritest public transportation of anywhere I've ever been, but I have my doubts it has the surge capacity to handle the Olypmics without seriously screwing up the daily commute for locals.
posted by ctmf at 9:31 AM on August 26, 2013


I have my doubts it has the surge capacity to handle the Olypmics without seriously screwing up the daily commute for locals.

Has there ever been an Olympic host city where the daily commute was not completely borked by it?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:09 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe Berlin in '36?
posted by elizardbits at 10:12 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


...the USOC sent out letters to the mayors of 35 cities to gauge their interest in hosting the 2024 Olympics.

Well, clearly Sacramento should have jumped at it and then annexed everything up to Squaw Valley. Infrastructure planning done!

/double cheeseburger with a Sierra Nevada pale ale
posted by psoas at 10:27 AM on August 26, 2013


This Apocalypse thing sure is slow.

Slowpocalypse Now...Later
posted by The Tensor at 10:33 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


"...the USOC sent out letters to the mayors of 35 cities to gauge their interest in hosting the 2024 Olympics."

Why not Vegas?! At least they have Lake Mead, the hotels, and an abundant amount of multi-use space. Stop trying to goad cities to spend billions on stadiums that will go empty later. Hold the whole thing where they hold Comdex, knowing that Vegas will bring in ten thousand tons of sand and build an indoor harbor, if need be... and have it all cleared out again within a week.

And Sacramento??! That's a great way to have an Olympics in a truly depressing American city, while still foisting all the sailing/water-related events on San Francisco. Again.

I actually think that in the right circumstances, the Olympics could actually be a profitable endeavor for a city, but if the USOC came here right now, I think they and the local boosters would be chased out of town, given the thorough hosing Larry Ellison and his yachting buddies have given our fair city.
posted by markkraft at 11:25 AM on August 26, 2013


Even though they were a long time ago, and were the lower-profile winter games, the feeling in Calgary is that hosting the 1988 Olympics was a good thing.

All of the venues/improvements still get heavy use... The NW LRT, Olympic Plaza, the Olympic oval, Canada Olympic Park, the Saddledome, a full freeway all the way to Canmore, and the Canmore Nordic Centre all still get heavy use. Ok, maybe Nakiska is not great, but you can't beat how close it is to the city.

I missed them by over a year (moved here in 1989) but back then I never heard anyone complain about the games.

I think the reason it worked is that the city was small, but growing. Construction of the venues and transportation wasn't as disruptive as it would be in a place like Tokyo, and with a growing population the venues weren't going to sit unused.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:29 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Alternately, here's a compromise for those cities that want a major league football team.

Host the Olympics. Build the stadium. Build everything else that goes around the stadium. Put up with that, and you're free to start a team with whichever rich, exploitive megalomaniac you so choose.
posted by markkraft at 11:30 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hope Istanbul is using its ace-in-the-hole promotional song. (Alternate version)
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:47 AM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wordshore: "The rest of the [2012] games: meh. Actually I can't remember any of the rest of the games. Only bits of the opening ceremony."
Well, there was this.
posted by brokkr at 12:53 PM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


But seeings as how the IOC members and their wives probably don't want to spend so much time in a city without a Fendi or a Prada store, it's an academic question.

Hey there are women on the IOC. Some are total princesses though.
posted by srboisvert at 2:52 PM on August 26, 2013


I'll just leave this here.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:15 PM on August 26, 2013


It'll be okay. A major global sporting event, awarded by a corruption-riddled organisation, would never cause a distortion in the prices for fans and locals in the host cities. Oh, no.
posted by Wordshore at 5:32 PM on August 26, 2013


DC2024. O RLY?
posted by psoas at 2:13 PM on August 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Latest Fukushima Leaks Prompt Grim Assessment from Nuclear Agencies
posted by homunculus at 6:21 PM on August 28, 2013


Turkey and Greece Are Working Together to Punish Dissidents
posted by homunculus at 9:30 PM on August 28, 2013


Well, shit. Now I'm torn between wanting to be out of the country and wondering how many men's basketball games I can get tickets to.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:20 PM on September 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Katsuhiro Otomo knew it would happen 30 years ago.
posted by misozaki at 7:13 PM on September 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Billions of yen ALREADY spent on just the *appeal* to the IOC. Half of that is taxpayer funded. That ratio of taxpayer funding (the other half is corporate sponsorship) will continue, according to my understanding. At a time when the country faces an unprecedented and almost mind-bogglingly expensive nuclear disaster to contain, the fact that so much money has been spent on the Olympics, and so much more WILL be spent... well, I find it appalling and unconscionable. Makes my blood boil. I'm utterly disgusted.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:33 PM on September 7, 2013


Today I learned that the IOC has a special category of membership that seemingly exists solely to honor Henry Kissinger. It's an organization that defies parody.
posted by Copronymus at 8:56 PM on September 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


My favorite bit of absurdity: Japan claims to have absolutely no problem funding the games, but at the same time, the nation absolutely, positively, must double the current consumption tax? Not a sales tax. Not a tax on luxury goods. A tax on any and all transactions, including food and medicine. No matter how many different options are out there, the only one on the board here is bumping the 5% tax (on everything) to 10%.

Somehow, though, there's $4.5 billion lying around that we don't have tied up in anything.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:20 AM on September 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


IS ☻ JAPAN COOL?! Why YES! Yes it is!

Tokyo 2020, IKIMASHOU! Feel the pulse! We're all crashing at your place, Flapjax!
posted by markkraft at 10:43 AM on September 9, 2013


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