The International Olympic Committee has a big problem. No one wants to step up to plate and host the 2022 Winter Olympics–well, almost no one. When countries allow their citizens to decide, the citizens are giving the idea a big thumbs down.
The spending required to host an Olympic Games has spiraled out of control, as evidenced by the recent 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi where the price tag eclipsed to an outrageous $51 billion dollars. Countries are now unwilling–and rightfully so–to fund a project that doesn’t bring in the massive revenue or exposure it promised.
In May 2014, Krakow, Poland realized the insanity and officially withdrew their bid to host the games. 70% of the the voters of the city decided it wouldn’t be a good idea. Stockholm, Sweden decided against the idea back in January 2014, citing the investment that would be needed to fund facilities that would only be used for two weeks and never used again. Just look at what has happened to other cities and their abandoned structures. Munich, Germany pulled their bid last November, and Davos/St. Moritz, Switzerland yanked the plug when voters decided against it during a public referendum back in March 2013. Lviv, Ukraine fell next and dropped their bid in June 2014 due to the political turmoil in the area.
Now there are only two finalists remaining as Oslo, Norway dropped their bid in October 2014 since public sentiment against hosting had grown stronger. That leaves two beauties to fight it out to host the 2022 Winter Olympics; Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, China.
Almaty used to be the capital of Kazakhstan before it was moved to Astana by order of the president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, in 1997. Nazarbayev has been president of Kazakhstan since 1991, and most recently won re-election in 2010 with 95% of the vote. He even has a holiday for himself called the First President’s Day. You get the point. Beijing continues to forge ahead with its bid since China does wants China wants to do, but with the 2018 Winter Olympics taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the idea that another Asian country will host the games makes the odds a little harder for Beijing to be picked.
So it seems that when the citizens speak, or are allowed to speak, they are realizing that the games are nothing more than a huge boondoogle. Where would you stick the games if you had the chance? Heck, if you have a few billion laying around, and a lot of land to use up, you too might have a chance at hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.
A little informational video on Kazakstan, just in case you needed to help out the International Olympic Committee.
Further reading from the blog on the Winter Olympics (you know, since right now it’s fall)
Winter Olympic Events-Gone But Not Forgotten
A Guide to the Winter Olympics in Sochi – Some Amazing Facts