“Tokyo” (2003) by The Books
“Tokyo” (2003) by The Books
GOD DAMMIT! I was going for Istanbul!
But good on Tokyo for winning the 2020 Olympics.
One of the reasons I wanted Istanbul to win was to spread it wide; to spread it out. I had already known Tokyo has hosted it before. In fact Japan had already hosted an Olympics Winter Games in 1998 in Nagano too. I understood London had already hosted it before as well; three times overall in fact. The South Koreans, the Americans, the Greeks, the Canadians and the Italians have all hosted it before, historically and recently. I just wanted a new country; a new area; something fresh to invigorate the cities that I’ve become used to hosting.
However they have been choosing new grounds. No one ever thought Communist China would ever host an Olympic Games – but Beijing did well. I guess it truly was about time South America host some games, so I congratulate Rio. And though the Games hadn’t come down under since 1956, it was breath-taking to see the Olympics come to Sydney, next door.
It may be a different country, but we shared in the glory across the Tasman, simply because the biggest event in the world was only 2,000 kilometres away. Watching the news that day, when IOC President, Juan Antonio Samaranch, with his broken English, read: ‘Syd-a-nee!', we revelled with our Australian cousins. We revelled in that the Olympics would honour this area, by not forgetting about our little zone in the world. We revelled that the Melbourne Olympic Games were not just an afterthought or vote of pity for us down here. We revelled that our little zone could beat the might of Berlin, Manchester and even Beijing. The Olympics broke new ground by confidently serving the start of the 21st century with people who eat a strange disgusting spread called vegemite. It was a fun time.
So when I saw the candidates for 2020, the underdog in me went for Istanbul. Japan and Madrid had already hosted it. Time for something new; time for something different.
Let the Games come to the Muslim world, especially now. Islamophobia needs to be addressed and in voting for a Middle Eastern city would assist this and in our relationships with Muslims in general. It would, again, spread it out to an area unfamiliar to hosting; and would definitely boost the self-confidence of the area itself. It would’ve been great.
But the Tokyo bid simply won on its logo: ‘stability’. That’s a bold statement coming from a country that’s to recover with issues itself of a recent Earthquake and a nuclear power meltdown. But they were more stable than the other candidates. Madrid and Rome have continuous problems with the European dollar and the still after-effects of the GEC. And Istanbul, unfortunately with what’s going on in Syria next door and the after-effects of the Arab Spring, truly had no chance in hell.
And that’s why the IOC has always been afraid of choosing a Middle Eastern city: the potential violence going on and about in the Middle East. And, yes, I empathise with the IOC decision, but they should’ve pulled their fucking finger out and taken a risk; a chance. At least, FIFA had enough balls to do it, to let Qatar host the Football World Cup in 2022. I don’t think the Middle East will ever host Games in my lifetime.
I really felt sorry for Istanbul today. Not only because they lost and not only because the Middle East is shunned out, again, but also because this is the sixth time they’ve lost their Olympic bid. That is a record that’s truly hard to swallow. This is the sixth time, they’ve had to just sit there and take it, while the winners went crazy in the chairs to their left. Poor guys. They join Detroit; Budapest; Philadelphia and fellow loser, Madrid, in being the top five biggest losers in Olympic bidding history. I wanted to give them a hug. Fingers crossed they bid again. Fingers crossed they win. But in reality, the last chance was today; the fatigue has set in; the bidding committee’s money has been drained. I don’t think the Middle East will ever host Games in my lifetime.
The reason I supported Istanbul was because of the absolute pipe dream I have. They gotta spread it wide; they gotta spread it out. Maybe because of the furore I remember when Sydney won. Maybe because of the likelihood Istanbul would’ve won. New Zealand would host an Olympic Games.
Okay, you can stop laughing now.
The biggest sporting event we’ve ever hosted was definitely the Rugby World Cup. But we’ve also hosted three Commonwealth Games, two America’s Cups, a Cricket World Cup (that we co-hosted with Australia and will do so again in 2015), three World Netball Championships, a Rugby League World Cup, two second-tier FIFA World Cups, three Triathlon competitions, various Motorsport events and two Rowing Championships. But all in all, we’ve got nothing in comparison to the absolute enormity of hosting an Olympic Games. But with that evidence, still, I think we can do it. I’ll admit there’s no chance with the Summer Olympics. But the Winter Olympics is right up our avenue.
Queenstown is slowly becoming one of the greatest Winter sports capitals in the world. Northern Hemisphere people come down during their summer to train. Even Australians come over, being our biggest Winter tourist (we both are the only Southern Hemisphere countries to win medals at the Winter Olympics: Australia: 3 Golds, 1 Silver, 3 Bronzes. New Zealand: 1 Silver.) Our winter sport infrastructure is getting bigger and more popular, especially amongst Kiwis ourselves (a mate of mine goes skiing down Turoa any opportunity he can and has been down to the Winter Festival there twice.) In fact, our general tourist industry is one of the greatest well-oiled machines in the world. We love foreigners! Queenstown has the mountains but we also have Naseby for the Curling; Dunedin for the indoor events; and Mt. Hutt for other Alpine events.
People may say New Zealand’s too small. But Finland hosted the Olympic Games and they have a similar population. Northern athletes may complain about the calendar stuff up with the difference in seasons between North and South. But they adapted for Sydney so they shouldn’t complain. People may complain that our Winter sports market is nowhere close to the mainstays of Norway, the United States, Japan, etc. But I can tell you Queenstown has a bigger market than Russia or South Korea; and yet these two countries were voted as the next two Winter Olympic hosts. Voting for two cities with an absolute zilch history in winter sports marketing can only boost our chances. We just had an Earthquake near in Christchurch, but so did Japan. In truth, we are rebuilding for an eye to potentiality in hosting something like the Games. The new buildings will be perfect.
And like Istanbul, another reason to choose Queenstown is because it would be a fair vote. It doesn’t matter that we’ve only won one medal at the Winter Olympics. It doesn’t matter that our winter sports aren’t very big. You choose us to make it internationally balanced and equal. At least once even. The northern hemisphere always hosts. Ya gotta spread it wide; ya spread it out. For that matter, they could even choose another Southern Hemisphere country, which could boost our chances: Santiago, Chile; Portillo, Chile; and Bariloche, Argentina. Spread it wide.
I have a strange feeling that the IOC, wanting to find new hosts, for the Winter Olympics, would be looking towards the ex-Soviet Republics, China or even India. That’s fine by us. Their infrastructure for it is just like ours. Those countries are on a level playing (winter) field. Hence – bring it!
These are more than enough reasons why Queenstown should host.
Laugh all you want.