Tokyo Olympic is facing such a backlash over cost overruns that rumors emerged this week that some events may have to be moved to South Korea. It looks only rich Western cities with a lot of pre-existing infrastructures can attainably meet the International Olympic Committee’s needs, says David Wallechinsky, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians. Paris and Los Angeles are sorts of relief for the IOC.
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The cities that have the money and infrastructure like Rome, Boston, and Oslo are now pulling out, with large opposition movements rising up to point out the massive costs of Games like Sochi 2014, which totaled $51 billion. This can leave dictatorships embarking on self-importance projects as the only option. Last Winter Olympic Games were expected to be in Oslo, but the city balked because of the high costs of the Sochi Games. “It came down to two dictatorships China and Kazakhstan.
The IOC has promised to work with Tokyo to ease costs, and the option of having some events in South Korea comes as part of the Agenda Tokyo Olympic, a large plan to make hosting and the bidding process easier. The critics say they are yet to see any real change since the Plan was announced in 2014, and if even Japan the world’s third-biggest economy is struggling, clearly something more needs to be done.
Now there are many looking to LA the last city “to really knock it out of the park,” as Bass puts it to come to the rescue again this time. In the 1984 model of using mostly private funding and existing facilities is again not one many cities outside the West can replicate.
Matthew Llewellyn says “It’s certainly viable it’s certainly been seen in the case of soccer. European Championships is often co-hosted by a combine of nations; the Commonwealth Games have also explored that avenue.”
If it’s an option for Tokyo to farm out events like canoeing and rowing to Chungju in South Korea, why not let two cities officially share the Olympic 2020 Games? This would have the costs for each city and let them each choose to build grounds that would really be used in the coming years.
It would dilute the unique international atmosphere of the Tokyo Olympic Village, while Llewellyn says it may be hard to persuade two countries to split the glory of the Olympic. The Olympic 2020 Games have been seized upon by governments throughout history as an avenue of nationalism and pride. I am not sure if hosting the Sports is going to be as appealing to a host government that’s going to have to share the pride and adulation.
One compromise could be spreading the Tokyo Olympic around a country instead of just having it in the capital city, Wallechinsky says. The national governments could shoulder the costs, and they could build grounds in cities where those games are the most popular.
The one city holding the Games twice in a row could mean less enthusiasm and lower ticket sales the second time. Meanwhile, having a longer gap between Olympic 2020 Games leaves the Games ransom to that country’s economic fortunes, Wallechinsky says. Athens 2004 is blamed by some for pushing Greece over the edge into financial meltdown, and there’s no way it could host the Games again in Tokyo Olympic.
The IOC wants to take an actually tough look at itself, who argues the association makes overly severe needs on host cities and bloats costs with needless bureaucracy, ground requirements, and hospitality demands. The IOC could cut costs by decoration the number of Olympic 2020 Games, letting in fewer athletes, or sharing more of its profits with the host cities.
Llewellyn says “It is very much been a very repressive institution, surely right-leaning, if you follow the arc of IOC history, it is always been behind the bend of all the social and cultural changes. It has not really easily embraced change and reform and that certainly seems to be the case now.”
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