Who Will Host the 2016 Summer Olympics?

Who will host the 2016 Summer Olympics?

The 2016 Summer Olympics, known officially as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, are in the planning stages. Many cities initially lined up to make a bid at hosting the games but only four remain.

Initially, 26 cities expressed some kind of interest in playing host to the games. Below is a breakdown of some of those cities and how their bids fell apart:

Bangkok, Thailand expressed much enthusiasm for hosting an Olympiad after Thailand’s excellent performance in the 2004 Olympic Games — but Thailand officials decided that an application for the 2010 Youth Games would better suit their abilities. They then lost the bid for the Youth Games to Singapore.

San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico discussed making a joint bid for the 2016 games, but discussions fizzled. No future plans for Olympics bids have been discussed.

Cape Town and Durban, South Africa both expressed interest. It is unclear if those countries Olympic officials ended the bid or if the Olympic committee rejected their plans.

Delhi, India was all set to enter a full fledged bid, but in April of 2007 that country announced it would bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics instead, probably wanting more preparation time.

Dubai, of the United Arab Emirates, was also set to make a serious bid for the games, but decided against placing such a bid, preferring to focus on future Olympic games.

Fukuoka and Sapporo, Japan were eliminated by the Japanese Olympic Committe, with the intention of focusing their time and money on Tokyo’s bid.

Houston, Texas and Philadelphia were eliminated by the United States Olympic Committee in favor of three larger cities. San Francisco then withdrew its bid when that city lost its Olympic Stadium funding. Eventually, Los Angeles lost out to Chicago for the country’s bid.

Montreal and Toronto, Canada abandoned their plans for a bid for the Olympic Games in 2016 after Vancouver won the bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Toronto is still considering an application for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games or the 2024 Summer Olympics if the 2020 bid falls through.

The following four cities are the finalists for landing the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago’s plan is to use 15 existing sports venues plus one new building (already drawn up and funded). In the meantime they would build six new permanent Olympic venues, such as the Olympic Stadium and swimming arena, which would later be scaled down for future use. The city is also planning to incorporate the use of nine temporary venues in their Olympic plans — venues that would be scrapped after the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee said that Chicago’s financing proposal represents a serious risk for that city’s bid. The city of Chicago has set a $750 million financial cap on the necessary guarantees to secure an Olympic games — that cap would cover any potential shortfalls in the Olympic organizing budget. It is still unclear what about that financial plan is risky for the potential Olympic bid, but their budget has been called “ambitious but achievable.” Chicago still has to generate nearly $2 billion in revenue from sponsors before the time of the games.

Chicago’s bid puts a heavy financial burden on that city’s Olympic organizing committee to deliver the necessary infrastructure and “temporary venues”, although if any city can pull it off, its the city of the big shoulders.

On a positive note, the IOC praised Chicago’s “thorough planning and . . . full understanding of the complexity” of any Olympic plan. The IOC found their plan to place temporary arenas in public parks “unique” and praised the city for thinking outside the box. Unfortunately, on a negative note, the IOC says that relying on “temporary and scaled down venues”  will increase risks for that city’s ability to deliver a successful set of Olympic games.

The IOC also has doubts about Chicago’s public transportation — and the city’s ability to control the kind of traffic that the Olympics brings. The most dangerous area for congestion during a potential Olympics? The area around McCormick Place.

As for security during the games, the United States has stepped up to ensure the IOC that they would take “full financial and operational responsibility” for securing the city during the Olympics. The IOC warmed to this plan over time, but still want to see a clear description of exactly what this means for the city and the games.

Chicago’s bid isn’t as strong as it could be — for one thing, nearly 4 percent of the city’s population is “strongly opposed” to the games being hosted in the Second City. The IOC ranks Chicago’s bid as “third overall” out of the four remaining cities.

Madrid, Spain

Madrid can boast the strongest public backing in the IOC Olympic host polls, with a solid 84.9 percent of residents fully supporting that city’s bid and only around 2 percent strongly opposed. The citizens of Madrid seem excited by the notion of their city hosting the Olympic games. The IOC ranks Madrid’s bid for the Games as second overall.

However, the Madrid bid team has suffered somewhat after the IOC determined that city’s organizing committee did not fully understand the responsibilities a city has when planning an event as complex as the Summer Olympics.

Madrid’s Olympic concept is seriously compact and appears to be quite efficient for large crowds. A full 23 of the 33 planned venues are in place and two more venues are already being built. This is a city serious about its Olympic bid. The areas where Madrid’s Olympic construction are lacking — the Olympic Stadium itself as well as the venues for rowing, flat water canoeing and open water swimming.

All but two of their planned competition venues will be accessible by public transit, and are within 6.2 miles of the city’s center. The shooting venue is planned for an area just outside the 6 mile radius zone, while sailing is 224 miles away in Valencia. That city plans to build its own athletes village to cut down on travel needs.

According to the IOC, Madrid’s organizing committee is “confused” at best, and that Madrid’s management structure is weak. Weakness in management usually results in financial challenges for a host city, and the IOC doesn’t look too kindly on a city that can’t financially handle an Olympic bid.

The finances for Madrid’s bid are well structured, with several national, regional and city governments stepping up to provide what the IOC calls “strong” financial support. This funding would be in place to cover any potential shortfalls in the city’s organizing budget.

The city of Madrid has been praised for its plan for use of the buildings after the Games. The city of Madrid would fully own the athletes’ village after the Games, and the media center would be used for social programs and housing after the Games.

Two major problems that stand in the way of Madrid’s bid? The IOC thinks that Spanish anti-doping laws lack the stiffness necessary to comply with the World Anti-Doping Agency code. Calling this issue of “utmost importance” to Madrid’s bid,  the IOC made it clear that without some change to the anti doping laws, the bid would fall through.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio is in last place out of the four bids still on the table for the 2016 Games. Part of the problem for Rio de Janeiro is their lacking public support in the IOC polling date. A full 83 percent of residents do favor of the bid, but a rather hefty 4 percent of those polled are strongly opposed.

Like Madrid, the governments of Rio and Brazil have guaranteed the ability to finance the Olympic infrastructure costs and cover any obstacles in the organizing budget.

Rio’s venue plan would fit in well with their ongoing and expensive urban regeneration plans. Rio is working hard to revamp their infrastructure and public image, especially along the city’s waterways. This reconstruction is fully funded by the government of Brazil, to the tune of $240 billion. The IOC has said that reconstruction in Rio de Janeiro will certainly accelerate the delivery of the Olympic Games, but that the city needs “careful management and monitoring” of their reconstruction projects.

Brazil will play host to the World Cup in soccer in 2014, and this will certainl speed up the delivery on much needed infrastructure in Rio de Janeiro, however, the idea of hosting the world’s two largest sports events inside of two years presents a serious challenge in terms of marketing and communications.

Rio faces a shortage of hotel accomodations for visitors both for the World Cup and for a potential Olympic Games. The city plans to build four villages and use six cruise ships to house people for the Games.

Public safety and crime levels in Brazil are a major concern, so Rio has spent time attempting to engage local communities in various social revamping and sports programs.

Overall, Rio doesn’t appear to have what it takes to secure an Olympic bid. High crime rates, difficult geography, and questions about Brazil’s ability to host two major sports events inside of 24 months will probably keep Brazil out of the running for the 2016 Games.

Tokyo, Japan

The frontrunner for the 2016 Games appears to be Tokyo, Japan — even though only 55 percent of that city’s residents support their bid for the Games, and as many as 8 percent of the population lists itself as “strongly opposed”.

There is plenty of praise and criticism for Tokyo’s bid, and the lines of thought on their bid follow the same themes as other cities — for instance, finances are secure but public support is pretty low.

The government of Tokyo has guaranteed the finances for the games and set aside a huge $3.7 billion reserve fund. National and city governments have guaranteed to finance infrastructure changes the IOC deems necessary, and also to cover any potential shortfall in the organizing budget.

The bid aims to highlight the sucess of Tokyo’s hosting of the 1964 Summer Games. Tokyo’s plan is to create a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable’ Olympic project.

The IOC has high praise for Tokyo’s plan to minimize athlete’s travel times, calling Tokyo’s venue plan “very efficient”. All but the shooting events would take place within 5 miles of the city’s center. Unfortunately, the IOC sees a “lack of clarity” on Tokyo’s claims that most venues are ready right now. Some venues that Tokyo lists as “existing” are actually closer to the “need to be built” phase.

Tokyo also faces questions about their ability to control traffic, and in a country composed of tiny islands like Japan there is the usual concern about the size of land area available to develop the Olympic Village.