The Comm and Gender Spot

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Narrowing Down the Field - 2016 Short List

One day after writing about how I’d like to see the 2016 Summer Olympic Games go to a country that has never hosted the Olympic Games before, one of the cities I mentioned has been eliminated from the running.

Today the International Olympic Committee cut the list of bidding cities from seven to four. Not making the short list were Prague in the Czech Republic, Baku in Azerbaijan, and Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Doha’s bid was history making as the first Middle Eastern city to ever make a serious bid.

Still in the running are Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo. These cities will now need to prepare more extensive bid books and prepare for site visits by members of the International Olympic Committee.

Now for a bit of prognosticating: which city of these four has the best chance at being granted these games?

Tokyo has hosted the Summer Olympics before – in 1964. Japan also hosted the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano. They have proven that they can successfully host the Games. But the biggest strike against them is Beijing hosting this year. If the Beijing Games in a success it is predicted that China will make a bid for the 2018 Winter Games. This might cause the IOC to not grant the games to Tokyo because they would not want to have three Olympic Games in that area of the word in a relatively short period of time. Also, members of the IOC has gone on record stating that they would like to broaden the range of cities that host the Games – even though London is going to be a repeat host with the 2012 Games it is believe that the IOC will go for a city in 2016 that has never hosted before.

’s biggest strike against it is that the 2004 Games were held in Athens and the 2012 will be in London. Will the IOC want to go again to Europe so quickly? It does help that Madrid is one of the major European capitals that has never hosted a Games (though Barcelona did host in 1992). It also is a big plus that Madrid placed third in the voting for the 2012 Games.

stands a better than decent chance in getting the 2016 Summer Games. The United States has not hosted a Summer Games since 1996 in Atlanta or any Olympic Games since the Winter Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City. Another plus for it is that United States corporations play a big part in the financial status of the IOC. With 20 years between Summer Olympic Games in the Western Hemisphere, some would say that this area of the word is due. Biggest strikes against Chicago – The 2010 Winter Games are being held in Vancouver and some doubt Chicago’s ability to host such a huge event.

Finally we have Rio de Janeiro. The Olympics have never been held in South America or Africa. The president of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, has said that he wants to see the Games branch out to these continents. In 2007 Rio successfully staged the Pan American Games, which demonstrated its ability to host such a large sporting event. Not much in the way of negatives when it comes to Rio.

I believe that the final decision will come down to Chicago and Rio de Janeiro, with Rio having a slight advantage due to the desire to bring the Olympics to South America. I think it’s Rio de Janeiro’s to lose, and if they can put together a pretty decent bid book and put on a good show when member of the committee visit then they will have the Games clinched.

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