Monday, 6 October 2014

fair-play or venue d’hiver

After having put the matter up to a popular vote, Norway—one of the top contenders to host the Winter Games—withdrew its bid for the 2022 Olympics.
Faced with the enormous costs for security, construction overruns, logistical demands, negative environmental impact and witnessing the hardships that the preceding host-nations have had to deal with, Oslo joined a slew of other candidates, due to public opposition, in pulling out of the competition. Now, instead of watching the Games played out in an enchanted snowy landscape of one of the Nordic countries (Stockholm was also in the running) or Kraków, St. Moritz or München, only two challengers remain: Almaty, Kazakstan and Beijing, China. To one unfortunate city go the spoils. Another major disillusioning factor is in terms of legacy and the boon that’s failed to materialize for local economies afterwards—it seems only oligarchs, cronies in capitalism, are beneficiaries of the sport—with construction, security firms and established sponsors seeing a lucrative profit out of a process that seems a bit tarnished all around. What do you think? Are big events becoming a liability rather than an honour and the stuff of shameless self-promotion and greed, for sale to the highest-bidder?