Olympic-Sized Thanks to Our Friends at Around the Rings!


Do you know about “Around the Rings?”  ATR has been described as…

“The most influential internet presence on the Olympics.”

“Required reading in the Olympic Movement.”

“The go-to source for Olympic host-city speculation.”

Founded during the build up to the Atlanta Games in 1996, Around the Rings (ATR) is the premier Internet-based publication covering the business and politics of the Olympic Movement, as well as a wide array of issues in international sports. ATR is an invaluable source of information on “all things” sporting mega-event for a wide spectrum of individuals and organizations. We were delighted to team up with ATR to share a story on our team’s publication, Bidding for Development: How the Olympic Bid Process Can Accelerate Transportation Development. Please check out ATR’s debrief:

Olympic Opportunity: Going for the Gold or Spending in the Red?


A DC Discussions event presented by

Heinz College Washington DC and
The Center for International Policy & Innovation (

Featured panelists:
Ngiste Abebe, Co-author, Bidding for Development
Trina Bolton, Co-author, Bidding for Development
Dr. Dennis Coates, UMBC, Department of Economics
Chris Watts, Managing Director, 4POINT4

John A. Flaherty
Distinguished Service Professor and Director, Heinz College DC

Thursday, November 13, 2014
6:00 – 8:00pm
Heinz College Washington DC
Hall of the States, 3rd Floor
444 N. Capitol Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

This panel will explore the complex business of bidding for mega-events. The panelists will weigh a city’s potential for long-term strategic development against the extreme price tag of bidding to host. The dialogue will focus on the largest global mega-event, the Olympic Games, and span dynamic policy areas from transportation and urban development to sports economics and diplomacy. Panelists will also share insights from the recent Springer publication, Bidding for Development: How the Olympic Bid Process Can Accelerate Transportation Development.

Refreshments and beverages will be served. Space is Limited. Reserve your seat by Monday, November 10th.


From A to Zeus: Team BID Goes to Greece

ioa (2)

Where is the Olympic spirit said to thrive? What city prides itself on the most longstanding Olympic legacy? Where is Pierre de Coubertin’s heart located—literally and figuratively?

Olympia, Greece.

While small in size, this city in western Peloponnesus is of large significance as the site of the Ancient Olympic Games. The date of the first Games marked the start of a cultural and athletic phenomenon that has become increasingly large-scale over the past century. When Pierre de Coubertin took on the project of reviving the Olympics in 1896, he turned to Olympia for inspiration and symbolic tradition.

Maintaining a lens on Olympism and urbanism, a member of BID’s author team visited Olympia this summer for a workshop at the International Olympic Academy (IOA). As an interdisciplinary center aimed at studying and promoting Olympism, IOA was a fitting location for BID to consider the many nuances of the Olympics starting from the ages of Antiquity all of the way to Modernity. Over time, urban development and the concrete impacts of hosting the Games have risen in importance to the world’s cities as well as the Olympic Movement.

Through this IOA experience, Team BID had an opportunity to underscore how city planners can learn from past Games to use the bid process as a means of tactical urban development planning. In turn, a positive bidding strategy can play a strong role in maintaining the historic Olympic ideals of “building a better world.”

The origin of urbanism and Olympism can be traced back to Pierre de Coubertin’s vision of a “modern Olympia,” with the Games extending beyond a sporting and cultural event to nourish the city’s environment through venue planning and design.

Since it was so near and dear to his heart, Pierre de Coubertin arranged for Olympia to serve as the final resting place of his heart. Upon his death, this desire was fulfilled with the burial of his heart, located near what is now the IOA campus.

Pierre heart (2)

Pierre de Coubertin: “In these Olympiads, the important thing is not winning but taking part…What counts in life is not the victory but the struggle; the essential thing is not to conquer but to fight well.”

This summer also marked ten years since Athens hosted the modern Olympics and Paralympics. This 10th anniversary presented great timing for BID to analyze both the lessons learned and significant successes experienced by Greece as a result of the 2004 Games. Results from these Games seem as mixed as the opinions related to them. Nonetheless, concrete developments—including a new airport, new ring roads, new tram, and new telecom system—are seen as having created lasting benefits.

During the summer of 2012, Team BID traveled to London for research and involvement in the Olympics and Paralympics. A year later in 2013, a representative of Team BID went to Los Angeles to formally contribute Bidding for Development  to LA84Foundation’s Olympic library.  Now in 2014, the IOA’s Olympic archives officially accepted a copy of the book. What landmark Olympics city should team BID go to next?

DC2024 Goes Live!

DC 2024 launched their new website today. The campaign focuses on unity, cleverly incorporated in the logo below. So, what will it take to be named host of the 2024 games?

DC has survived 16 months of scrutiny from the US Olympic Committee (USOC). USOC CEO Scott Blackmun has said that, “Simplifying the domestic bid process has been a major priority” for USOC. This cycle, American cities were contacted broadly and informally, with the final four named in June. San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston will duke it out with DC to be named the US city in 2015. From there, the lead city will undergo the rigorous bid process, outlined in detail in Chapter 3 of Bidding for Development

The domestic bid process is notoriously un-transparent, but it will be truly fascinating to see how four well established cities craft their bids. Will we see the same emphasis on multi-purpose event space and recyclable materials as in London 2012? What neighborhoods will be targeted for revitalization, if any? Will locals rally around these bids? The competition is only beginning to heat up!


The best and worst place to build roads–or host the Olympics?

A Global Road Map is being billed as a “strategic approach for zoning and planning roads” in the hopes of mitigating the environmental impacts and maximizing the economic and social benefits of the huge growth in road and transportation infrastructure anticipated in the 21st century. This growth will largely be concentrated in developing countries facing increasing urbanization. 

An animation of satellite images shows roads and croplands encroaching on the Amazon rainforest in Brazil between 2000 and 2012. (NASA Earth Observatory) via Smithsonian Magazine

Having this kind of global road map to support smart infrastructure choices could help cities hone their transportation and infrastructure plans. The Global Road Map could be incorporated into an Olympic Bid, reiterating the IOC’s increasing interest (or self interest in the opinion of some) in a greener, more sustainable Olympiad. It could be interesting to see tenets from the Global Road Map incorporated into future bids, and to see if they succeed in implementation with or without the Games. 


10 Years Later: Athens Development Gains?

Ten years after the close of the Athens Olympics in 2004, their Olympic legacy comes under scrutiny. The Greek Olympic Committee Chair made a powerful statement for the infrastructure changes that the Olympics can bring about:

It saddens me that public opinion has come to believe the Athens Olympic Games were not successful. They were very much so, both from the sports aspect and through projects that gave life to Athens — tourism has increased, there is a modern airport, roads, the metro, phones work properly and when it’s very hot, the power system doesn’t collapse.

~Spyros Capralos, Greek Olympic Committee Chair

These infrastructure changes would have been made eventually, but the question is whether hosting the Olympics helped Athens accelerate that development. The Chair points to core urban planning results as the core of their legacy, arguably the most concrete definition of success possible. Could Athens have made that progress without bearing the cost of white elephants like the volleyball stadium below?


An auxiliary pitch at an abandoned stadium, which hosted the beach volleyball competition during the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, is seen at the Faliro complex south of Athens.(REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis)

Sports Spotlight: Mega-Event Press Reel!

Photo credit: Pat Collins

Photo credit: Pat Collins

With every passing day, global attention to mega-events like the World Cup and Olympics & Paralympics seems to escalate. The upward trend of interest in these increasingly significant international competitions are certainly linked to urban development.

Predictions, outcomes, and opinions on sporting events and their urban legacies are wildly different. The perspectives in the press–both negative and positive, pessimistic and optimistic–present a diverse spectrum of important topics for us to consider. As of late, we’ve seen most of the media traffic around the following: Brazil 2016, the 2024 Games, and games from the past two decades.

As this track record of rising interest parallels the volume and intensity of media pieces on the topic, we wanted to highlight those articles that pertain most to our book topic: Bidding for Development: How the Olympic Bid Process Can Accelerate Transportation Development .

Please check out our press collection and let us know what you think!

Brazil for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics

Chicago Tribune on Brazil – Woes and realities for 2016

UK Reuters on Brazil Realities and challenges to address, but cautious optimism for 2016

Bloomberg on Brazil 2016 Failure to meet bid book promises

Cities in the Running for the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics

CBS on L.A. for 2024 1984 L.A. as it applies to current 2024 running

Biz Journals on Boston Boston 2024 as a catalyst for development on pre-existent/pre-planned projects in the city

WAMU NPR DC Radio on D.C. 2024 Washington 2024 bid pros and cons

Inside the Games on Istanbul  Is it an urban legend or will Istanbul bid for a 6th time for 2024?

New York Times on 2024 Bidders Comprehensive recap!

Past Games

CBS on Montreal 1976 Olympics “boondoggle” stadium, where cigarette taxes finally covered debt after 30 years

Houston Culture Map on Munich Munich 1972 urban development successes

Global Atlanta on Atlanta 1996 and Istanbul Dr. Tamer Cavusgil–one of our very own book resource experts–on mega-events!

Sports Illustrated on a range of past stadia “What Happens…After the Games?”

Other News on Global Games

Fox Sports on 2022 Winter Games bidders…finalists are down to three…

India Times on Tokyo 2020 Critiques on urban preparation

Sport Better Cities Excellent platform and convener on “all things mega-event”

International Olympic Committee IOC has recently reformed the bid book-with revamped guidelines related to urban development!