Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

May 27, 2014

Nobody wants to host the Winter Olympics

WASHINGTON — The Associated Press reports that, facing public opposition and allegations of official corruption, Krakow, Poland, is withdrawing its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. It follows Stockholm, which pulled out in December due to concerns over costs.

This leaves four cities officially in the running: Almaty, Kazakhstan; Beijing, China; Lviv, Ukraine; and Oslo, Norway.

Let's just assume that given current political realities, Lviv doesn't have a realistic shot at this. Oslo is also looking like a bit of a nonstarter. According to AP, the government has yet to secure financing for the bid and one of the parties in the country's governing coalition has come out against it.

We know from 2008 that China is capable of putting on a good show, but its bid is problematic for a number of reasons. For one thing, there aren't any mountains — and lately, not that much snow — in Beijing. The plan is to hold the indoor events in the capital and the snow events more than 100 miles away in the northern city of Zhangjiakou, requiring a new high-speed railway to be constructed. The IOC also usually doesn't give the games to the same region twice in a row — South Korea will host in 2018.

Almaty, which also bid for the 2014 Olympics and was initially considered a long shot, is starting to see its prospects rise. It claims to already have many of the facilities in place and with a booming oil economy the Kazakh government should be able to afford more. After all the criticism surrounding Sochi, the IOC might be reluctant to award the games to a former Soviet autocracy with a poor human rights record, but frankly China's an even worse choice on that score. Winning the Olympics would be something of a crowning achievement for Kazakhstan's 73-year-old strongman, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been in office since independence in 1991.

If we do end up watching slopestyle from the Central Asia steppes in 2022, it will likely be because it's becoming clear that nobody in Europe wants to host these Olympics anymore. In addition to Krakow — where 70 percent of voters rejected the Olympics in a recent referendum — and Olso, public opposition also scuttled bids by Munich and Davos, Switzerland.

Publics may finally be getting wise to the fact that the long-term economic benefits of hosting mega-events like the Olympics or the World Cup are usually negligible at best. This is going to mean that fewer democratic countries will make bids for them and the ones that do, like Brazil, will do so in the face of widespread popular opposition. For the Winter Olympics, where thanks to weather and geography, the number of potential hosts is small (and thanks to climate change getting smaller), the problem will be more acute. Increasingly, the only governments excited about hosting these events are the ones that don't have to worry about public opinion.

Unless the skyrocketing costs of these mega-events can be contained, expect to see a lot more Chinas, Russias, Qatars and Kazakhstans hosting them in the future.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • weightloss.jpg The scales of injustice: Weight loss differs between men, women

    You're not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drug dealers going corporate

    A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work.

    August 13, 2014

  • wwimemorial.jpg The benefit of World War I omission on the Washington Mall

    By 1982, when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened on the National Mall, something had shifted in the way we remember our wars. A national memorial, prominently placed on the nation's most symbolically significant public space, came to seem like an essential dignity offered to veterans, their families and the memory of those who gave their lives. But there is an exception.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Japan, ramen aficionados worry their favorite dish is coming off the boil

    "The ramen boom has ended," said Ivan Orkin, a New Yorker who first traveled to Japan in the 1980s and now owns two noodle-soup restaurants in Tokyo. "A boom implies that there are new avenues and new growth to pursue, and that's not the case in Japan anymore."

    August 11, 2014

  • Ronnie Ellis: U.S. Senate race trail long and interesting

    By Ronnie Ellis/CNHI News Service

    FRANKFORT — Last week was a long one, endured under the onslaught of an awful summer cold and played out across the commonwealth. It began in Fancy Farm and ended it in Corbin with a trip to Hazard in between.

    August 9, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks