The extravagant demands of the International Olympic Committee would rate a hard pass in democratically run countries, but for authoritarian-run nations it’s game on.
The International Olympic Committee has developed quite an appetite for sweeteners from host countries.
In 2014, Norwegian news outlet, Verdens Gang (VG), raked through thousands of pages of technical manuals to compile a list of “perks” the IOC had asked potential host cities to provide its members for the 2022 Olympics, including Games prospect, Oslo. The requests, VG described as verging on “parody,” ranged from “smiling, positive and welcoming” airport greeters to breakfast buffets for two (must be hot) at the 4 or 5 star-rated hotel the IOC would require for its stay (which would also be on the hook for 24-hour room service, events catering and a members lounge reserved for the exclusive use of IOC members). No lounge? The hotel would need to pay for and install one.
Were doves on the list? Of course. The IOC requested doves be released following the parade of athletes but prior to the Opening Ceremony speech by the organizing committee head. In the case of Oslo, the IOC thought a private meeting with Norway’s king, Harald V, would also be very nice. And so the list continued.
Examining the selection of Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics prompted U.S. sports writer, La Velle E. Neal III, to note that such demands are tailor-made for authoritarian nations where political leaders are unlikely to be voted out of office and can “approve what they want”. Democratically run countries, Neal observed, had a hard enough job trying to sell people on the infrastructure costs of hosting the Olympics, let alone the gratuitous fancies of its organizing committee.
The selection of Beijing, fires Neal, should never have been allowed based on the human rights violations of China’s government. Beijing, he says, owes its distinction as the first city to play host to both a Summer and Winter Olympics to the IOC’s “greed and lust for opulence”.
Neal acknowledges that Beijing did “put on a good show” and that, as hosts, the “Chinese people were wonderful, helpful and funny”. But China, he says “should never be allowed to host the Games again” and the IOC “needs to stand up to bullies”.
See “China should never have been allowed to hold these Olympics” by La Velle E. Neal III, published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune on February 21, 2022.
See also: “Toxic Beijing Games did lasting damage to the long-term survival of Olympics,” by Nancy Armour, published by USA Today on February 22, 2022.