Here we go again. Maybe.
Canadian Olympic Committee chief Marcel Aubut was quoted last week as saying the COC is considering a Toronto bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
"Toronto is going to deliver a great 2015 Pan Am Games and it should be the first step in going higher for the Olympics like Brazil did (in winning the 2016 Summer Olympics), Aubut told Reuters. "If not we are going to look again at the Winter Games, and Quebec is a very good possibility. But the first goal is to convince people to go with Toronto in the summer."
The time for a 2022 Winter Games bid is almost here, actually. The International Olympic Committee will vote in September of this year on the site of the 2020 Summer Olympics, with the final ballot consisting of Istanbul (the favourite), Madrid and Tokyo.
A 2022 decision will be made by the IOC in 2015, while the 2024 decision comes two years after that.
It's good to see Aubut talking about the need for a Summer Games. Because Canada still needs good, Olympic pools and running tracks and other facilities. And a Summer Games in Toronto would do a lot for the city's tourism if it's done right.
Lord knows we should've learned how to bid, too, having lost out for the 1996 Games and then losing to Beijing in the 2008 race.
What we do NOT NEED is another ski jump or another bobsleigh/luge/skeleton course. It's bad enough to have Olympic winter facilities in Calgary and Vancouver; to spend public money on duplicating them in Quebec would be absurd.
Having staged the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver is probably enough for Canada. But the trouble is that, with global warming (or global inconsistency), there aren't many places cold enough to pull it off any more. Quebec might be one of the few dependably cold places the IOC can find for a Winter Games at some point, although there should be plenty of options for 2022, including perhaps China, Norway or maybe a Slovakia-Poland joint bid.
Staging the 2024 Games in Toronto is fairly soon after Vancouver. But it's definitely time for the big summer event to return to a North American stage as the last one here was way back in 1996 in Atlanta (after Atlanta nudged out Toronto and other cities).
Since then we've seen the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London, and Rio in 2016. It's time to come back to North America.
But I’d be leery of the U.S. Big-time. The U.S. and the IOC were kinda like Karen Stintz and Rob Ford for a while; very much at each other’s throats. But they resolved a major issue over television money a while back and are now back on good terms. I think a Canadian bid would be extremely hard-pressed to elbow the Americans from the front of the IOC food line.
So far there's been interest from Los Angeles (which already has held the Games twice), Philadelphia and, um, Tulsa. I think Toronto could take on Tulsa, no offence to my Oklahoma friends. Also rumoured to be mulling a 2024 bid are Rome, Paris, Doha, Dubai and Durban, South Africa.
Aubut sounded excited.
"There won't be any political problems, there won't be a problem with terrorism. They (members of the IOC) love Canada. It's close to America. They love our country.
"But we have to make sure the interest is there, the government support is there."
I can see Mayor Ford jumping at it. Hard. But I'm not sure Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario government would feel the same way about such a huge undertaking during tough economic times. I'm also hugely worried about the potential security costs of a Toronto Games, as the bill would be massive.
Still, it should be fun to watch.
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