Bid Farewell to the Olympics, Part 2

Part II: Welcome Development?
Five cities have submitted their bids to host the XXXII Olympiad. Three of these cities will not be chosen, and that may be better for them. After spending millions on the bids and overcoming hurdles associated with IOC bid requirements, applicant cities should be “in shape” to meet transportation infrastructure targets. The construction of an extra metro line, the refurbishment of an airport, or the establishment of a new natural gas bus fleet are plans that may benefit the city and country for years, regardless of the fact that the city will not serve as host of the Olympics.

“The good thing about the bid is it forces a city to specifically address transportation needs in the context of the Olympics, but overall, and becomes a catalyst for really doing something,” according to Charles Battle, a bid consultant and the head of international relations for the Atlanta bid for the 1996 Olympics.

Past Olympic bid losers have accomplished urban projects designed for the Olympics, but still important to their cities. In his recent report on “How New York City Won the Olympics,” Mitchell Moss of New York University describes ways in which the contracts and plans made for New York’s 2012 Olympics bid jump-started revitalization projects in the city. Paris transformed the proposed Olympic Village into Parc Martin Luther King, a lively and eco-friendly area, based on the IOC’s environmental sustainability rules. In a paper on Berlin’s Failed Bid to Host the 2000 Olympics, Heike Alberts describes urban development projects that were “realized” irrespective of the Games.

Have other such triumphs resulted from past failed bids? What if a city’s metropolitan objectives were triggered by pursuit of the Olympics and put into motion after the bid? Can bid losers have a lasting Olympic legacy, too? All bid participants for the 2020 Olympics can be a part of the positive Olympic Movement…where the bid is only the warm-up.

Parts of this post were first published as an article by BID team member Trina Bolton on Global Atlanta.

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