The End of the Olympics As We Know It
March 1, 2017 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Only a handful of cities can afford the two-week-long, über-expensive bonanza that is the Olympic Games. Unless something changes, angry citizens who don’t want to pay for a bunch of useless stadiums are going to force the IOC to decide on a semi-permanent set of hosts.
posted by Chrysostom (78 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
About fucking time.
posted by ocschwar at 11:31 AM on March 1 [65 favorites]


Given the IOC's rot, they'll probably prefer to rotate it around various dictatorships rather than miss out on their bribes and special traffic lanes.
posted by tavella at 11:34 AM on March 1 [29 favorites]


What oschwar said.

And what tavella said.
posted by Melismata at 11:35 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


I want my velodrome and I want it now.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:36 AM on March 1 [6 favorites]


and I feel fine.
posted by Rob Rockets at 11:38 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


#AnywhereElse2024
posted by maryr at 11:41 AM on March 1 [11 favorites]


But how will your city handle having a pro football game, pro baseball game, Promise Keepers rally, and U2 concert on the same day, if it never hosts the games?
posted by thelonius at 11:42 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


I want my velodrome and I want it now.

The ones near me are currently in use by women's roller derby. You can try to get it from them, but those women are tough.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 11:43 AM on March 1 [8 favorites]


Misread the first line of the article as saying that the Olympic venues had already begun to ruin porn.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 11:43 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


Los Angeles, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney ... is there anywhere else that has the capability to realistically hold such a (bloated and excessive) event on rotation?
posted by Wordshore at 11:43 AM on March 1


While I am hopeful for the LA bid, it sure makes a lot of sense (superficially at least) to base it in Greece permanently. Build the stadia, add lots of awesome statuary, and update it periodically. Greece needs the money and it's historically keen.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:44 AM on March 1 [52 favorites]


Of course, the tragedy of the Rio Olympics is not that the golf course is not in tip-top shape. It’s that Brazil and Rio are woefully short of money needed for vital social services, and the cash frittered away on a sporting event could have helped.

This is one of those cognitive biases, particularly difficult to overcome because it's about money. Sure, the country can't afford the Olympics, but to think that if they hadn't had them, they would have spent those billions on vital social services, well pfffft.
posted by chavenet at 11:44 AM on March 1 [11 favorites]


How about the modern Greek City State of Las Vegas. The IOC should get along swimmingly with the local organizations!
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 11:49 AM on March 1 [6 favorites]


Though I'd like a story with more detail. It's never been clear to me what the exact mechanisms were that turned the Olympics into such a cancer. Barcelona isn't a particularly big city, only the second largest in Spain, a not especially high population country. So why only 24 years ago could a city of a million and a half pull off an Olympics without financial disaster and abandoned infrastructure, while currently only the very largest capitals and regional capitals can be expected to do so? Sure, before 1984 the Olympics were already being viewed as a money loser, but not on the same scale as now.

Is it the IOC insisting on unneeded infrastructure? I'd love comparisons of the bid specifications and so on through the years. An actual deep dive as opposed to a recitation of the same high level stuff and some ruin porn.
posted by tavella at 11:50 AM on March 1 [17 favorites]


Recently, and related: Legacy of Rio Olympics So Far
Is Series of Unkept Promises
[NYT]

In the preparations for the Games, the city of Rio promised “no white elephants” and outlined plans for facilities to be turned into public sporting areas and schools. The arena that hosted taekwondo and fencing was to be transformed into a school. Two other arenas were to be taken apart, and one put back together as four schools in another area. None of that has happened.
posted by ryanshepard at 11:52 AM on March 1 [7 favorites]


Los Angeles, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney ... is there anywhere else that has the capability to realistically hold such a (bloated and excessive) event on rotation?

Moscow, I imagine.
posted by maryr at 11:52 AM on March 1 [5 favorites]


Agreed, tavella. I'd also like to hear what the TV folks at NBC etc. have to say. Just off the top of my head, when I read that "We wouldn’t get to see Kobe Bryant watching Michael Phelps swim, but that seems like a small sacrifice." my first immediate thought was hmm, NBC would never go for that, because it's little things like that that drive ratings. Obviously, NBC has a mother-effing huge say in all this (for now; it could be different in the not-so-distant future as streaming replaces TV), but what are their specific concerns? The Olympics need to reach viewers. How is that going to work?
posted by Melismata at 11:56 AM on March 1


While I would love for it to come back to Los Angeles, as long as Mandarin Mussolini is in office, that's not going to happen.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:56 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Los Angeles, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney ... is there anywhere else...

Los Angeles? Isn't the president doing his best, with the travel bans, to keep all ‘unAmericans’ from getting into the country? And other countries now are responding by banning U.S. sports teams.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:58 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


I'm sure the IOC can do as well as FIFA does in picking the site for the next World Cup Soccer.
posted by which_chick at 11:58 AM on March 1 [9 favorites]


Just been reminded that I forgot to include Stoneybridge in Scotland. Maybe 2028.
posted by Wordshore at 12:01 PM on March 1


How about a combination deal:
A) Cut down on the number of events; and
B) Yep, rotate the venue through a short list of permanent hosts --- Los Angeles, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo and Sydney will do fine for the summer events; Moscow, Helsinki, maybe one or two others for the winter stuff.
C) Totally fire the entire current IOC (and support staff) and hire from scratch.... can't possibly do worse with total beginners than they have with the long-term entrenched crooks they have now.
posted by easily confused at 12:02 PM on March 1 [5 favorites]


I feel EXACTLY the same way about all the crap NFL/MLB stadiums.

Except a little worse, because the teams get to cream off all the cash and it ends up being the fans paying for everything, between tickets, concessions, merch and taxes.

GAH!
posted by Samizdata at 12:03 PM on March 1 [4 favorites]


tavella, you ask a good question.

According to the ever reliable Wikipedia, the 1992 (Barcelona) Olympics hosted 9.356 athletes in 257 events and cost $9.6 billion in today's dollars. The Rio Olympics hosted 11,237 athletes in 306 events and cost a relatively slim $4.6 billion.

That doesn't include indirect capital costs (upgrading airports and hotels for guests, etc), but many of those are actually good investments in infrastructure, so probably shouldn't be counted the same way.

The average cost of recent Olympics has been between $5-6 billion. London was mind-shreddingly expensive, at about $15 billion, for reasons that are entirely unclear to me. $6 billion is a decent chunk of change, but I agree with you in that it doesn't seem like an "only super-rich countries need apply" level of cash.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:04 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


We could have a basketball tournament in New York and an athletics meet in Paris and a swim meet in Beijing, and the events wouldn’t be any less special. We wouldn’t get to see Kobe Bryant watching Michael Phelps swim, but that seems like a small sacrifice. We could host all the events in the same city, but sprinkle Olympic events around the calendar. In April is the Olympic handball tournament, in May we have the gymnastics meet. The city gets to reuse the arena instead of building three, and we give the incredible achievements in each sport full attention rather than lumping every gold medal on top of one another.

This paragraph feels like the author doesn't really understand what people like about the Olympics. Non-marquee sports already have world championships that happen in different cities at different times -- very often in venues that were built for past Olympic games. Nobody cares about them.

I do think a small cadre of host cities that permanently rotate the games would make a lot of sense, but only if they also receive infrastructure funding from the IOC to support both venues and the transportation upgrades that are necessary.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:07 PM on March 1 [7 favorites]


Alternatively bidding cities and countries could be forced to work under a spending cap.
posted by humanfont at 12:20 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Can't blame either side for being upset here. It's a great event that generates just about everything except for revenue. Some states just simply can't do it
posted by LTH at 12:33 PM on March 1


This paragraph feels like the author doesn't really understand what people like about the Olympics. Non-marquee sports already have world championships that happen in different cities at different times -- very often in venues that were built for past Olympic games. Nobody cares about them.

Nobody even knows about them. Since the Wide World of Sports went off the air there is no broadcast coverage of non-Olympic sporting events that are not major professional team leagues or X games energy drink events (other than golf and curling in Canada because people need their afternoon living room naps).
posted by srboisvert at 12:34 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


On news: the IOC is apparently adding human rights clauses in host city contracts.

So why only 24 years ago could a city of a million and a half pull off an Olympics without financial disaster and abandoned infrastructure
In part because part of the infrastructure was already built and was being used before the games - Barcelona is a sports city, already had hosted Euro/World championships and world exhibits and events of the same kind which leave a lot of perfectly fine arenas and indoor spaces just in need of a new coat of paint. Out of 43 venues, 15 were new and 10 refurbished. If anyone is so inclined, the official report [PDF] is an interesting read.
Finally, the Olympics are a temporary event, and if the organizers are looking at a lot of new infrastructure as opposed to renovations, temporary adaptations and a lot of temporary stands, maybe they're overstating their cities' capacity to host the event, which seems very often to be the case.

Oh, and a shout-out to the Olympic Channel, that is working on streaming world elite events.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:39 PM on March 1 [5 favorites]


CBC does broadcast a few other non-marquee sports, but in a way that is specifically branded as pre-Olympic coverage. Their version of Wide World of Sports is called "Road to the Olympics" -- right now mostly skating, skiing and snowboard events, but that's because of the season, I imagine.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:40 PM on March 1


As for the Barcelona Olympics, remember that Juan Antonio Samaranch, a native of said city, was IOC president at the time these were awarded and staged, so they were a bit of a vanity project.
posted by hangashore at 12:43 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


New York could presumably do it with the addition of a decent track and field stadium somewhere. We already have multiple velodromes!

(Please do not make this happen, anybody)
posted by thecaddy at 1:06 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


London was mind-shreddingly expensive, at about $15 billion

You think that that's something, check out what the Sochi Winter Olympics cost. Also, in decaying sports venue porn: what's left of the Athens facilities.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:07 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Boston smartly rejected a bid but it would be a perfect location, given flexibility. The Head of the Charles is a world class rowing event but the location can not be used because the river curves. There's a big football stadium a 30 minute drive that's not in use mid summer but gotta build one by the village. Juggle student dorms in a bunch of schools and the athletes could be housed but gotta build a village. The friggn marathon had to have a different route than the Boston Marathon!?!

Run it in Russia, China and North Korea, institute a special "Platinum" medal so the local juiced up athletes can win every event and let the rest jockey for 2nd (gold), 3rd and 4th.
posted by sammyo at 1:13 PM on March 1 [5 favorites]


From the 2016 Oxford Olympics study, previously on Metafilter:
If, perversely, one would want to make it as difficult as possible to deliver a megaproject to budget, then one would (1) make sure that those responsible for delivering the project had never delivered this type of project before, (2) place the project in a location that had never seen such a project, or at least not for the past few decades so that any lessons learned earlier would have been forgotten, and (3) enforce a non-transparent and corrupt bidding process that would encourage overbidding and "winner's curse" and place zero responsibility for costs with the entity that would decide who wins the bid.

In project management, there's an iron triangle of cost, time and quality. You can adjust any side of the triangle, but the others are connected -- you can get something done more cheaply, but it'll take longer and/or not be as good, for example. The Olympics, unlike most megaprojects, have the firmest drop dead opening date imaginable - on July 24, 2020 there will be a opening ceremony in Tokyo come hell or high water. They also have very rigid quality standards, partially through the IOC's strict (and ever expanding) wish list of amenities for VIPs and athletes, and partially because international sport federations have very strict requirements for facilities, especially at the highest level. There is absolutely no way for any problems to be resolved other than through cost escalation.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:15 PM on March 1 [14 favorites]


Yes indeed, sammyo. When told (among many other things) that there would be dedicated lanes on the Southeast Fucking Expressway, everyone was firmly in the HELL NO category.
posted by Melismata at 1:16 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


hangashore, but you'd expect it being a vanity project would make Barcelona worse, financially, not better. So I'm really curious about the numbers, the real analysis. Is it that the IOC has become much more greedy about demanding new and elaborate venues? Is it that Barcelona had good civic leadership who made sure that the infrastructure investment was in places they could use later, while Rio and others had more corrupt or foolhardy leaders? If so, how much feedback is there between that and the IOC's increasing demands for special treatment leading to many democracies opting out via pressure from their voters?

It looks like the numbers of athletes and events went up about 20 percent between Barcelona and Rio, per It's Never Lurgi. That doesn't seem like it should make a huge difference, especially since a lot that can be accounted for by the increasing inclusion of women's events, rather than entirely new sports needing entirely new venues.

I've read a bunch of thinkpieces over the last decade or so about the decline of the Olympic games, I'd really like to see an actually nuts and bolts analysis for once.
posted by tavella at 1:36 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


tavella: "I've read a bunch of thinkpieces over the last decade or so about the decline of the Olympic games, I'd really like to see an actually nuts and bolts analysis for once."

You should read Circus Maximus by the sports economist Andrew Zimbalist. He concludes about Barcelona:

"The Catalan region had been largely neglected under Franco, and Barcelona itself had suffered under decades of unregulated industrial development. As a result, people in this seaport city were cut off from the Mediterranean by blocks of manufacturing, warehousing, and railways. Together with poor traffic circulation and underdeveloped infrastructure, this situation made a city that could be a shining jewel of tourism, with its magnificent architecture, cultural history, climate, and location, mostly a tourist afterthought.

The new government began to hatch a master plan for Barcelona to change the entire picture in the late 1970s and elaborated the plan in the early 1980s. The plan preexisted the thought of hosting the Olympics, but hosting was seen as a vehicle to put the plan into action. Barcelona used the Olympics; the Olympics didn't use Barcelona.

If other cities were able to emulate Barcelona—and many have tried but failed—then the problems that have been discussed in this book may be attenuated, or even in some cases avoided. The difficulty is that the conditions that contributed to Barcelona's success are not present elsewhere, and the political systems in other countries have shown themselves increasingly unwilling or unable to engage in effective long-term planning."

posted by crazy with stars at 2:08 PM on March 1 [9 favorites]


How about having a country host the Olympics rather than a city? I'm sure you could find the necessary venues across a range of cities. It's not like the wrestlers need to be in the same timezone as the 100m dashers.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:11 PM on March 1


Los Angeles, London, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo are pretty much the 5 locations that have the infrastructure and venues necessary for the Summer Olympics. And even then that depends on Beijing being willing to shut down for 3 weeks in order to clean the air.

Winter Olympics might have to go to some place like Calgary permanently just because reliable snow fall is getting harder to guarantee
posted by vuron at 2:23 PM on March 1 [4 favorites]


Thanks for the pointer, crazy with stars! Turns out my local library has Circus Maximus, I've put a hold on the ebook.
posted by tavella at 2:23 PM on March 1


Why does it need to be one big event? Why not just continue to do the World Championships-type events for each sport in the places that participate in each sport? Or am I missing important accessibility arguments for under-represented countries that want to participate even if they aren't "World Championship" caliber? (Note: genuine question - I think participation for international participation's sake is totally a worthy reason.)
posted by jillithd at 2:24 PM on March 1


Winter Olympics might have to go to some place like Calgary permanently just because reliable snow fall is getting harder to guarantee.

I'm thinking two locations for winter: the Canadian Rockies and Scandinavia.
posted by Ber at 2:26 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Lillehammer was a great location for everything but the alpine events but yeah Oslosinkiholm and Vancalgary for the winter Olympics on a 2 location rotation
posted by vuron at 2:31 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


What if, we build a space habitat at a Lagrange point explicitly to host international events, including sports championships.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:36 PM on March 1 [9 favorites]


I am also in favor of Olympia, Greece. God knows they could use the cash flow. But saving that, I would suggest Switzerland. Neutral and capable of hosting both the winter and summer games. And you know they would monetize every facet of it and never lose a farthing. Just be sure to bring your checkbook...
posted by jim in austin at 2:40 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Texas could handle the summer olympics just fine.
posted by entropos at 2:44 PM on March 1


How about we have a fixed neutral location, and whichever country wants to host can temporarily annexe that location for the duration of the event?
posted by miyabo at 2:54 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


I don't know why we can't hold the human Olympics on Animalympic Island.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 2:57 PM on March 1 [4 favorites]


Texas struggles with white water venues unless you do a man made one. The biggest challenge is of course the summer heat.
posted by vuron at 3:00 PM on March 1


Texas might be fine for the Crematoria Olympics, but not for humans. We have MONTHS of +40C temperatures here...
posted by jim in austin at 3:26 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Rotate it between 2-3 cities for each Olympic game and require that each participating nation contributes financially.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:41 PM on March 1


Why does it need to be one big event?

The event drives attention in a way that ongoing world competition doesn't. People like spectacle, and there's nothing wrong with an every other year sporting spectacle, the question is how to do it sustainably.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 3:42 PM on March 1 [9 favorites]


Los Angeles, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney ... is there anywhere else

the IOC is apparently adding human rights clauses in host city contracts.

When I first read some of the comments here, I thought oh god please not Tokyo but sometimes the only way things change in this country is by putting on outside pressure so I guess it's not all bad. We don't even have equal rights golf courses here.
posted by misozaki at 4:25 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Why does it need to be one big event?

Because the dream of the Olympics is about a moment - that no matter what countries are warring, the sports meet can always happen, for one shining moment we can be united. Without that moment there's no reason to watch. I watch the Olympics not because I care about sports but because I care about the dream of unity.
posted by corb at 4:41 PM on March 1 [7 favorites]


Alternatively bidding cities and countries could be forced to work under a spending cap.

Or - the worlds' various sports agencies and sports broadcasting networks all collectively chip into a general fund, managed by the IOC, which is given as a grant to the winning host city to supplement and help defray costs.

Kind of like the same thing as today, where each city puts together a proposal for hosting and shows they can put up some of the money, but with an additional "scholarship" funded by ESPN and Bode Miller and who-all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:42 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Why does it need to be one big event?

a) It's one giant stage that focuses the world's attention.
b) It maximizes athlete hookups.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:40 PM on March 1 [7 favorites]


Utah would give their eye teeth to get in the winter Olympic Games rotation. They loved hosting in 2002.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 5:57 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Texas could handle the summer olympics just fine.

Sure, as far as space and facilities go. But I don't think we want to deal with 6,293 cases of heatstroke. There's no way to be sure it won't be 110 degrees during the Olympics.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:27 PM on March 1


vuron: "Lillehammer was a great location for everything but the alpine events"

Let's do it there again - Dave Letterman's mom is still alive, it turns out!
posted by Chrysostom at 6:48 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


On news: the IOC is apparently adding human rights clauses in host city contracts.
It's a mark of how low my opinion of the IOC is that when I read this sentence I honestly wondered: are they for them or against?
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:11 PM on March 1 [9 favorites]


Can't we just get Bioware to host the next Olympics? I'm pretty sure they could do a VR version for only a quarter of the price of the London Olympics.
posted by happyroach at 7:46 PM on March 1


"How about having a country host the Olympics rather than a city? I'm sure you could find the necessary venues across a range of cities. "

This was part of one of Chicago's early iterations of its 2016 bids. The idea was to have the marquee events (Gymnastics, Swimming, Track, soccer and basketball finals) in downtown Chicago, with new facilities for Gymnastics and Swimming, and I think a new "Olympic Stadium" for track & field, but that a lot of the other events would be held either in surburban facilities accessed by Metra, or in surrounding college campuses -- Madison, Milwaukee, South Bend, Chambana. I think it was clever; the rationale was basically that every Saturday all fall, these cities see ENORMOUS influxes, sometimes that literally double the population, of tourists visiting for the college football. They have state-of-the-art sports facilities, hotel and transit to manage 80,000 weekend visitors, transit to and from Chicago that can manage a football stadium's worth of visitors, and local workers accustomed to handling that kind of influx -- stadium employees, transit workers, food vendors, etc. They all have regional airports that can land 747s (most are technically international airports that can handle customs, so you could fly your Norwegian handball team directly to Urbana). So the idea was to host, for example, kayaking in South Bend (which has a world-class kayak race, for whatever reason) and to leverage colleges like Notre Dame to provide on-site housing and catering, and South Bend would upgrade its kayak facility to be not just Olympic qualifying (which apparently it is) but to host spectators and television. For some reason it sticks in my mind that handball and volleyball would have been in Urbana. And so on. Soccer prelims in Milwaukee, Madison, South Bend, Urbana, etc. And then some other events in suburban locations -- the little towns around Chicago, one town will have an Olympic velodrome, another a world-class gymnastics facility, another an Olympic skating rink, paid for by their park districts, and high-level athletes from nearby suburbs will cluster from several surrounding towns to the top-level facility. The idea was that the Olympics would drive investments in regional rail infrastructure (a big but politically complicated regional goal), and that each surrounding city or suburb would improve or build a couple facilities (and Chicago, five or so), and the Olympics would showcase Chicago and its suburbs and its region. It'd be easy enough to have all the athletes in Chicago for the opening and closing ceremonies.

The IOC was a flat no; it all had to be in Chicago or it was a no-go. They wanted almost all the facilities in an Olympic park in downtown Chicago, or it was a no-go. (And, like every out of town thing that comes to Chicago, they wanted to fuck up the Burnham parks and build shit in our beautiful open spaces.) They didn't want empty college dorms used as the Olympic village, but a purpose-built set of housing (which would not be, incidentally, particularly where ANY Chicago advocates wanted to build affordable housing). It wasn't okay to convert a multipurpose college indoor stadium for handball; it had to be purpose built for JUST HANDBALL. (Even though in the US, it's common for colleges to have a big stadium they use for basketball, volleyball, handball, maybe hockey, and so on.)

So the final bid was an all-Chicago bid, and it was shitty, ridiculously expensive, and would have viciously abused the city's parks and misdeveloped its low income housing in the wrong places.

There have also been several early-round binational bids -- Seattle/Vancouver was one, Israel/Palestine was another, San Diego/Tijuana made it into the second round maybe? -- but these have all be rejected by the IOC as they want single-city bids. Even though a binational bid seems like it would be an amazing expression of the Olympic principles. I mean, Seattle/Vancouver seems easy since the US and Canada have such close relations and great border coordination, but still, a binational bid would powerfully express Olympic values of international friendship. But no, the IOC wants a single city.

Anyway, the IOC actively rejects bids that have adequate infrastructure because they're not single-city like the IOC wants.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:46 PM on March 1 [29 favorites]


The friggn marathon had to have a different route than the Boston Marathon!?!

The Boston Marathon is an aided course i.e. the start and finish lines are too far apart and there is too much elevation lost during the race for it to be a "legal" course meant to set records.
posted by mmascolino at 9:03 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


The idea was that the Olympics would drive investments in regional rail infrastructure (a big but politically complicated regional goal)

Last week I overheard someone claiming that when Denver turned down the Olympics it ruined our one chance at getting better passenger rail into the mountains. I'm not sure how true that is, or how likely it would have been that we'd actually have gotten the rail line, but there's definitely something to be said for having refused the IOC.
posted by asperity at 9:38 PM on March 1


I mean, Seattle/Vancouver seems easy since the US and Canada have such close relations and great border coordination, but still, a binational bid would powerfully express Olympic values of international friendship. But no, the IOC wants a single city.

Hell, the IOC rejected Vancouver-Whistler. Even though the 2010 Vancouver-bid was really the Vancouver-Whistler bid with Whistler scratched out of the logo and nothing else really changed -- all the alpine events were still in Whistler because duh -- they still had to have just the one name on it.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:45 PM on March 1


Chicago 2024.

From Crain's, circa 2014. If you take away the Olympics, someone will dust off and update that proposal for a 1992 World's Fair in Chicago.
posted by she's not there at 10:54 PM on March 1


I was just reading in the Guardian a few days ago about how they are getting fewer and fewer cities willing to bid. From the article this seems like a big reason why the host cities are losing money:

the IOC pockets more than 70% of Olympic television revenue compared with less than 4% between 1960 and 1980

Article here.
posted by JenMarie at 12:00 AM on March 2 [3 favorites]


If we held it in one of the giant alien ships from Independence Day we could move it all around wherever we wanted. And also blow things up.
posted by XMLicious at 1:24 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


While I would love for it to come back to Los Angeles

LA is still reaping benefits from '84, but I worry that most of its success is due to Peter Uberroth and not the Olympics. It's moot, though, with Trump.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:04 AM on March 2


Let's propose them to make the as the Euro 2000 was made - not in two cities but in two countries.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFA_Euro_2000

This should be the approach in my opinion. We IOC should work to develop not to spend.

Thanks!
posted by MATHSTOCKS at 7:42 AM on March 2


My mother was an admin assistant for a partner at a major accounting firm in Toronto and when Toronto was putting together the 1996 Olympic bid they were approached to be on the committee. My mom said the partners practically bolted from the room out of fear of their professional reputations being tainted by Olympic corruption.
posted by srboisvert at 8:11 AM on March 2 [3 favorites]


The Olympics have been corrupt and pointless for decades. Kill the Games (but somehow save the athletes...).
posted by mrgrimm at 10:03 AM on March 2


Hold the summer games in Greece and the winter games in Switzerland. Build permanent facilities and make it all UN territory. Use them for training and events all year, every year. Have competing countries pay their share of costs based on GDP and the size of the team they send to the games.
posted by pracowity at 12:31 PM on March 2


South pole.

The facilities can be shared between several countries while still in walking distance, and if you hold the games in the Southern summer it'll be be light 24 hours a day, but still cold enough for those popular Winter sports. For now, at least.

Plus the IOC and the Great Old Ones should get along famously.
posted by nickzoic at 3:39 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


I'd really like to see an actually nuts and bolts analysis for once.

You definitely want that 2016 Oxford study Homeboy Trouble linked above, and that was posted to the front page last July, tavella. From the abstract:

The main contribution of the Oxford study is to establish a phenomenology of cost and cost overrun at the Olympics, which allows consistent and systematic comparison across Games. This has not been done before...

Second, at 156 percent in real terms, the Olympics have the highest average cost overrun of any type of mega-project. Moreover, cost overrun is found in all Games, without exception; for no other type of mega-project is this the case. 47 percent of Games have cost overruns above 100 percent.


Also, one of the links in the original post goes to this article, which quotes the head of the International Center of Olympic Studies at Western Ontario University as well as Jules Boykoff, author of "Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics." Those might also be good places to start looking for nuts and bolts analysis.
posted by mediareport at 5:11 AM on March 4


sammyo, specific to one esoteric point, the Boston Marathon course is "slow", and it is ineligible for records because it's not a loop course (and has a net downhill). some details, AIMS standards
posted by gregglind at 12:06 PM on March 4


Los Angeles, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney ... is there anywhere else that has the capability to realistically hold such a (bloated and excessive) event on rotation?

Please leave Tokyo out of it. I am dreading 2020 and the lead up has been an unmitigated disaster. Design screw ups, delayed over priced stadium, diversion of much-needed resources from redevelopment in Tohoku, half-baked volunteer staffing plans. It's going to be a mess. But, a well-papered over mess. I'll just literally be paying for it for decades along with everyone else in Tokyo. As usual, Japanese politicians are a few decades behind the trend and fought for years to get these damn games just as everyone else starts to wise up to what a waste they are.
posted by Gotanda at 9:25 PM on March 5


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