Saturday, 7 September 2013


On the coat tails of the announcement from the International Olympic Committee which will award the next Games' venue to one of a few cities bidding for contention, a public policy professor from the University of Maryland offers a modest proposal that makes infinite sense and may bring back some of the spirit of sportsmanship and of a world coming together to the event.
Although nations are eager to showcase their prowess and hospitality as hosts, the population of the select cities are realising diminishing benefits if not outright aversion. Recent Olympiads saw whatever profits and friendship that might have been gained quickly and overwhelming eclipsed by costs for security and infrastructure improvements, stadium building and accommodations, concessions—not to mention pre-award posturing, that ran into untold billions. The public were left with the burden and circuses that won't be used again. Some say it was the price of the 2004 Games in Athens that finally exposed the Greek economy's faltering state. In response to these enormous expenditures passed off from one metropolis to another like a torch no one really wants to bear, the university professor suggests that a permanent venue instead be established, under a United Nations mandate, for the Games.

The ideal location would be a Greek Island, administered like a city-state and equipped with all the modern facilities to host training and the sporting events in perpetuity, as well as lodging for athletes and spectators. Such a change would make the sponsors work for contracts and acceptance, instead of the other way around where commercialisation comes dangerously close to fixing the match. It would be a big initial investment but I think one that could pay off in the long run. I have always found it exciting to see a new part of the world featured every few years as the hosts for the Summer and Winter Games, but I suppose any place has more efficient means of promoting itself and reaching a larger (or the just the right) audience, especially when the burden and hassle become too much.