Ever since I was a kid, I have enjoyed speculating about who should be the next Olympic host city. I was such a big dork about it that when I was in middle school, I collaborated with a friend of mine on an article in the school paper presenting a list of all the cities that should host the Olympics. At that point, I think we were talking about the 2000 Summer Games or thereabouts. We’d have all kinds of grand ideas, most of which demonstrated our naivite and dorkiness. (“Sarajevo should host again now that the war is over! Lagos, Nigeria should host because they’ve never had an Olympics in Africa!)
Anyway, because of my nerdiness on this issue, I am a big fan of the Web site GamesBids.com, which has all kinds of news on who is bidding for the Olympics and maintains a “stock market” of sorts to determine which bids have momentum. And today I ran across this intriguing story about Prague, which had bid for the 2016 games but wasn’t placed on the shortlist. There is some talk of Prague re-entering its bid for 2020 or 2024, but the mayor is no longer convinced that the city is large enough or has the necessary budget.
“Prague Mayor Pavel Bem said in an interview Monday with Mlada fronta Dnes that if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided it was only interested in ‘massive megalomaniac games’ from now on, Prague would most likely opt out of bidding.”
Massive meglomaniac games? Well, he may have a point. Consider that the folks in Beijing spent an estimated $40 billion for the 2008 Summer Olympics. And we know the games in London are expected to cost at least $18 billion. Prague’s budget is only $5.2 billion.
It begs the question: have the Summer Olympics become so enormous that only the largest cities can host it? Consider that the list for 2016 now includes Chicago, Madrid, Tokyo and Rio De Janeiro, all among the world’s largest and most populous cities.
Is it possible that cities like Barcelona and Atlanta will no longer given serious consideration? It would appear that way, but a look at the list of cities and countries expressing some sort of interest in the 2020 or 2028 Summer Games shows a hodgepodge of big cities and not-so-big ones.
- Birmingham, Alabama (2020)
- St. Paul/Minneapolis (2020)
- The Netherlands (Most likely Amsterdam in 2028)
- Kenya (2028)
- Perth, Australia (2020 or 2028 or beyond)
- India (2020, possibly in New Delhi)
- Busan, South Korea (2020)
- Rome, Italy (2020)
- Cape Town, South Africa (2020)