Basically, this is the weekend we can start getting excited about the 2020 Olympics.
("But wait!" you say. "Shouldn't we be getting excited about 2014 and 2016 and 2018 first?" To which I respond, "Hush.")
So who do we think will come out victorious?
This is probably what the '70s and '80s felt like... I can only imagine this is because every games since Sydney 2000 has left massive debt and decaying venues behind as its legacy (though London still remains to be seen). If cities don't start managing their hosting duties better, we could very well return to an '80s-like state, where the IOC is scrambling to find potential hosts. (For 1980 and 1984, Lake Placid and Los Angeles won their bids against a grand total of zero other cities. 'Murrica.) It's also probably not helping that Rio is rioting in the streets, Sochi is embroiled in LGBT controversy, Beijing came under fire for all sorts of human rights violations...
Yeah, hosting the Olympics is lookin' real attractive right now.
But nonetheless, we do have three cities whose hats remain in the ring for Saturday: Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul. And this quote pretty much sums everything up:
"There's no obvious choice," senior Canadian IOC member Dick Pound told The Associated Press. "Where do you go? None of the three is risk free. Probably somebody ends up backing into it this time." [x]
Initially I was hoping that Istanbul would win, just because the Olympics have never been held in the Middle East and we should probably consider spreading the love a little bit. But that's exactly what happened with Rio, and the citizens are not happy about it. Istanbul also had a host of its own issues recently, which got me thinking: the Olympics probably haven't been held in the Middle East yet for a reason. Like, uh, the constant wars. So maybe this is a bad idea right now, but Middle Eastern cities have my vote in future bids.
That leaves us with Madrid (which is broke) and Tokyo (which is marginally radioactive). Sweet, right? Madrid has apparently proposed a budget of only $1.9 billion (read: only [good lord]), but that basically means nothing, because every single Olympics in recent memory (potentially ever) has come in at far, far over budget. Tokyo, on the other hand, is already renovating its Olympic stadium for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Tokyo also hosted the Games in 1964, which is a fairly decent indicator that it could do it again.
So I think Tokyo has to be my pick. But then again, Asia already has the 2018 Winter Olympics (PyeongChang), and just had 2008, which might hurt its bid... So who the heck even knows at this point?
Now, moving on to a decision I know far more about but also have literally no idea which way it will swing...
I was as shocked as anybody when wrestling was removed from the Olympic program earlier this year. Like, literally stunned. To the point where I remember where I was when I found out. Personally, I think the IOC made an absolutely awful decision for more reasons than I care to take the time to list (this article lays out everything pretty well), and am hoping beyond hope that wrestling gets re-added. #WrestlingOrBust
But here's the rub: if the IOC does decide to re-add wrestling, it's admitting that it made a horribly bad decision. Of course, it could be spun that all the changes wrestling has made in the last few months got it re-added, but let's be real. I can't see the IOC taking back a decision like that so fast. To save face, it has to stand by it.
At the same time, though... I can't see squash being added to the program. Does it have a big following? I literally have no idea. I can't imagine squash drawing huge viewership. And as much as I love baseball/softball, it was eliminated from the Olympics for a reason. Actually, probably a good number of reasons. The one I'm having trouble getting past is the need for facilities: stadiums are gigantic, they're expensive, and a city would need a ton of them to be able to accommodate an Olympic-style tournament within three weeks. It could be fine in countries where baseball is already big business, like America or Japan; games could happen scattered around the country, like soccer (er, football) was for London 2012. But, for argument's sake, let's say Istanbul wins the bid for 2020. What happens then?
So, basically, I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen. But my fingers are crossed for wrestling!
The new IOC president is also getting elected imminently, on Tuesday. I know nothing about any of the six candidates except that they're all men. Laaaaaame. Get with the times, IOC.
Which city/sport do you think is going to prevail?