The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

Tokyo to Host 2020 Games – Who Next

Sep 30th, 2013
7:15 pm PDT

PlaceholderThe choice has been made and the IOC had chosen Tokyo as the Host city for the 2020 Olympics. I actually have lots of notes on the topic as I had originally intended to give my thoughts on who should be selected. But the more I looked, the more I realized that the choice was more one of the lesser of three evils than who was the best choice.

That said, I’m quite surprised that Madrid got little love from the IOC. Nice city. They did s fine job with Barcelona back in ’92. Track wise they pulled off Worlds in Seville. And they have more venues in place already. A nice set of positive attributes I would think. Granted they are hamstrung with financial woes, but clearly they understood the financial obligations involved with undertaking  hosting the Games.

For me, the negative aspect of their bid is that it’s Europe – and Europe dominates the hosting of the Games. Having the Games in Rio and South America was a major change. Given that the original premise of having the Olympics was to promote GLOBAL peace, understanding, unity then the competitions should be moved around the globe.

Since global peace is at the heart of the Games, I’m personally conflicted as to the consideration of Istanbul – let alone that it garnered more votes than Madrid. Perhaps they were giving thought to the fact that Istanbul would have taken the Games to a new region of the World (the Middle East) and placed it in a Muslim nation for the first time. But it’s hard to ignore that there are anti government protests in Turkey, and war next door in Syria. Certainly the IOC can’t see fit to Host the Games in a city/nation so separated from the basic ideals of the Games themselves. As a matter of fact, with the Middle East being in a constant state of war, I don’t see how the region can ever be considered as host to the Games.

Which takes us to the winner of the bid – Tokyo. Given the "issues" with the other two cities, Tokyo was always seen as the safest choice – and I agree. They’ve done an excellent job with previous global events – ’64 Games, ’91 Worlds, and they always pull things off with precision. The only real negative being the reactor leaks in the water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant – which should be a major concern.

While Tokyo was clearly the "safest" choice however, Asia recently played host in ’08 with Beijing,  and in my personal opinion, a twelve year gap is too small between hosting games.

I was hoping that with the historic selection of Rio de Janeiro for 2016 that the IOC was beginning to take a wider look at the global dispersal of the Games. Of course there is one caveat – in order to host the Olympics you have to place a bid. And we’re just not seeing bids from certain areas. Specifically Africa, North America, and Central America.

Especially Africa, which has yet to host an Olympic Games. And thinking about it, why not? Global events like the World Cup have been held in Africa. And there are several major cities throughout the continent that I think would be capable of playing host. Cities like :

Cairo, Egypt
Lagos, Nigeria
Johannesburg, South Africa
Alexandra,  Egypt
Casablanca, Morocco
Cape Town, South Africa
Nairobi, Kenya

And while Rio is hosting the next edition of the Games, it is the first ever from South America and the first Latin American location since Mexico City in 1968. A shame given cities like:

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Bogota, Columbia 
Lima,  Peru
Santiago, Chile

Then again, we also haven’t had a North American host since Atlanta in 1996. The US has bid, but lost big with its Chicago attempt. Canada hasn’t bid at all, though Montreal put on a nice event in ’76. Both countries have several suitable cities (just to name a few):

Los Angeles
Atlanta
New York
Montreal
Toronto

My point here is that perhaps it’s time to take a look at the process we’ve been using to select host cities for the Games. The expense has become prohibitive by anyone’s standards. The idea of a global "get together" is more so restricted to "wealthy" hosts than ever before. Effectively excluding most of the world. I’m sure that’s NOT what de Coubertine had in mind when he revived the Games.

That said, perhaps a global effort in putting on the Games could be established. I’m thinking that a fundraising effort by the IOC could do the trick. Contributions by member nations plus development of corporate sponsorships could enable potential host cities to both come forward and do the work necessary to put on the, Games. At the same time, however,  I would expect the IOC to play a different role in selection.. I would actually like to see them develop areas to solicit from.. Selectively rotating the Games around the globe.

So, for example they could say we’re taking bids from Africa for 2024, and of fundraising is targeted to provide $X.00 to assist the host city. That would then make it easier for an African city to come forward as host.  If would also make the Games more of a global "party"  with the Games moving throughout the global neighborhood, and everyone having a little skin in the game.

The Games would no longer be just for the wealthy, nor primarily confined to Europe. It would be more closely in line with the ideals from which it was created. I think that should be the twenty first century‚Äôs contribution to the world’s preeminent sporting event – making it truly global.

The Status of US Track – Sprints

Sep 16th, 2013
10:12 am PDT

The track season is over and cross country is under way.  So it's time to take a look back at 2013 while it's still fresh - because a lot happened this year.  So much so that I've started several different posts over the past week and each time decided that I really wanted to address something else! Topics I've considered have included Doping; College v Elite Track; The Structure of the Sport; and The predicament that Justin Gatlin Puts the Sport In, just to name a few Read More...

World Championships Review, Individuals Pt 2

Sep 5th, 2013
9:46 am PDT

Time to finish up my thoughts on the individual performances from the World Championships. As this was not one of my favorite Worlds, for reasons already discussed, there were more performances that I was disappointed in than those I was ecstatic about. So many that as I started writing this I had to edit down to a reasonable number Read More...

World Championships Review–Individuals Pt1

Aug 27th, 2013
9:22 pm PDT

Now for the fun part, looking at individual performances - and there were certainly some very good ones. First however, let's get a bit of perspective by taking a look at medal counts. The double digit medal earners: United States 25 total, 6 gold, 14 silver, 5 bronze. Russia 17 total, 7 gold, 4 silver, 6 bronze Kenya 12 total, 5 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze Ethiopia 10 total, 3 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze As expected Russians performed well at home Read More...

World Championships Review, Events

Aug 21st, 2013
7:36 pm PDT

As I said previously, this meet lacked the "Championship" feel for me. I think some of it had to do with the negativity leading up to the meet - the bans. But the competition/performances were lacking. In retrospect it's what I predicted early on - a transitional championship dominated primarily by youth Read More...

World Championships Review, Overview

Aug 18th, 2013
9:08 pm PDT

It came, they competed, it's over. After the wait and the build up the World Championships have come and gone. A little over a week of solid track and field, and a lot happened. Normally I would try to comment as things happen, but this year's meet came at an odd time. School starting for my kids; one starting college; a trip cross country - and that's just the peripherals Read More...

Worlds Preview – Moscow Mid & Long Distance…

Aug 4th, 2013
10:14 pm PDT

Time to take a look at the middle and long distances before the starting gun goes off. Right off the bat, I have to say that we'll be minus one of the biggest stars in the sport with the loss of David Rudisha - out due to injury. That won't diminish things overall however, as London star Mo Farah and all time greats Bernard Lagat, Meseret Defar, and Tirunesh Dibaba are all healthy and on board for this one Read More...

Worlds Preview – Sprints & Hurdles

Jul 30th, 2013
8:27 pm PDT

The preliminaries are done and now it's time for the main event! The World Championships are about ready to begin and it's crystal ball time. Although I'm not sure how well a crystal ball is going to work for this meet with so few sure things heading into Moscow. But this is the fun part, so I have to give it a try Read More...

The Final Prep for Moscow is Done

Jul 28th, 2013
10:19 am PDT

The London Diamond League was pretty much what I thought it would be - best meet of the year and perhaps a preview of several events in Moscow. If this weekend was any indication, we've got a Wild West shoot out kind of World Championships coming up, because there just aren't that many "sure things" out there this year Read More...

London Final Test Before Moscow

Jul 25th, 2013
8:20 am PDT

The World Championships are just a few weeks away and athletes are in the final stages of their preparations. Some are looking to get that final meet in before the big dance. While others have had layoffs and are looking to see just how sharp they are. This weekend's Diamond League meet in London is going to fit the bill nicely for both Read More...