Saturday, the International Olympic Committee will announce where the 2020 Summer Games will be held: Istanbul, Madrid, and Tokyo are the contenders. Whichever city wins the games will face enormous costs for a couple weeks of showcasing their country to the world. Hosting the Olympics can almost bankrupt a nation, while corporate sponsors and the IOC reap the profits.
University of Maryland public policy professor John Rennie Short thinks he has a solution. It's on an island.
Instead of investing billions of dollars in new Olympic host cities every four years, Short suggests it would be cheaper and easier to create a sort of Olympics island that can play host to the more expensive Summer Games, at a minimum, year after year. The IOC could essentially take over an island – maybe a Greek island, Short suggests – and turn it into a permanent venue. It would function more or less like an international city-state, overseen by the United Nations, dedicated to hosting the Olympics and its training in perpetuity.
"There would be maybe big infrastructure costs, but there's huge infrastructure costs being borne every year. How much did the Chinese pay? We'll never know. How much did London pay?" says Short, who's written extensively on the Olympics, globalization and urban affairs. "We know the real costs are always underestimated. It's billions upon billions."
It's an intriguing idea, but at the same time, part of the draw of the Olympics is to focus on a different part of the world every few years. Then again, the day may come when no city wants the hassle and expense of hosting the games. What do you think? Link -via Digg
(Image credit: Mark Byrnes)