SBD/June 2, 2014/Olympics

IOC, Thomas Bach Facing Crisis In Lack Of Bid Cities For '22 Winter Games

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IOC execs face challenges to ensure the long-term viability of the Olympics
The IOC has a "crisis on its hands: Finding cities willing to host the games," according to Stephen Wilson of the AP. The "troubled race" for the '22 Winter Games "is a case in point." High costs and internal political opposition "prevented several potential contenders" from bidding. Two candidate cities "withdrew and two others could still drop out." The way things "are going, the winner could be decided next year by default." Norwegian Senior IOC member Gerhard Heiberg said, "I have not seen anything like this before. This is urgent. We need to sit down and discuss what is going on. We are at a crossroads here." Wilson wrote it is a "challenge" the IOC and President Thomas Bach "need to resolve quickly to ensure the long-term viability of the world’s most prized sports event." The "public perception is that the games cost too much." Most worrying for the IOC is the "uncertain status of the Oslo bid." Polls show that 60% of Norwegians "are opposed" to hosting the Games. Heiberg said, "We have an image problem. People in Norway say we love the games but we hate the IOC." Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing "stand as the most solid bids." Wilson: "Has the situation reached the stage where the Olympics can only be held in non-democratic countries where money is no object?" No "public referendums are being held in Beijing or Almaty." Heiberg said, "I see a problem in Western Europe. We have to accept the fact that we are not attractive to Western European countries. People think the games have become gigantic, the investments are too heavy" (AP, 5/31). The GLOBE & MAIL's Doug Saunders wrote of Heiberg's comments, "That seems to be the pattern: If you're accountable to your people, you avoid imposing big sports events on them" (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/31). In Vancouver, McIntyre & Austin wrote about the possibility of the '22 Games eyeing a return to the city under the header, "Is Vancouver Ready For Another Olympics?" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 5/31).

SUMMER LOVIN': SPORTS ON EARTH's Peter Richmond wrote of N.Y. announcing it will not bid for the '24 Summer Games, "All northeasterners can now exhale a deep sigh of relief." Neither of the nation's "most historic burgs will be laying out billions of dollars, better spent on actual infrastructure improvements." Richmond: "We know this now: The Olympics don't help cities. More often than not, they help bring them down" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 6/2). In DC, Thom Loverro writes, "Unfortunately, the powers that be in Washington are still committed to wasting more money and resources for a chance to host an event that, at the very least, will make nearly all of your lives miserable for an entire summer, or, at the very worst, send governments into economic tailspins and leave broken dreams in its wake" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/2).
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