Last week Krakow, Poland withdrew its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics after its residents overwhelmingly rejected the prospect of hosting the games in a citywide referendum. Earlier this year Stockholm, Sweden, like Krakow a finalist to host the 2022 games, canceled its bid after political leaders there determined that lobbying for, and potentially hosting, the Olympics was a poor use of taxpayer money.
Two other potential hosts—Munich (host of the 1972 Summer Games) and St. Moritz/Davos, Switzerland (host of the 1928 and 1948 Winter Games)—opted last year, in response to unfavorable referendum votes, not to submit applications. Oslo, Norway is still technically in the running, but support there is tepid and one of the two parties in Norway’s governing coalition recently voted against funding the Olympics.
That leaves Lviv, Ukraine; Almaty, Kazakhstan; and Beijing as possible 2022 hosts. Considering recent events, it’s hard to imagine the IOC putting the Olympics in Ukraine. (For what it’s worth, Almaty has mountains, hosted the 2011 Winter Asian Games, and will host the 2017 Winter University Games.)
After Sochi sank $51 billion into this year’s Winter Games, perhaps it’s not surprising that other cities aren’t eager to bring the Winter Olympics to town. But what about the Summer Olympics? Surely there are cities willing to invest billions of dollars they’ll never see again for the privilege of hosting some of the world’s most famous athletes and for the opportunity to sell themselves to a global television audience. Right?
Late last week New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that his city would not submit a bid for the 2024 Summer Games. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter – who a year ago was eager to bring the 2024 Olympics to the City of Brotherly Love – also said that his city would not be putting in an application. Saturday Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, said of France’s capital hosting the games, “We are all under financial and budgetary restraints that do not make it possible for me to say I support such a candidacy.”
The United States Olympic Committee has said that it will select two or three American cities to support as potential 2024 hosts. The USOC may choose these cities at its June 10 meeting in Boston. Los Angeles, Washington D.C. , San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, and San Diego are rumored to be candidates. Meanwhile, Casablanca is building an 80,000-seat stadium in hopes of bringing the 2024 or 2028 Olympics to Morocco. And Baku, Azerbaijan – which submitted a bid but failed to become a finalist for both the 2016 and 2020 games – has built some gorgeous facilities for the 2015 European Games, is expanding its rapid transit service, and will file yet another application. Other possible candidates for 2024 include Rome and Durban, South Africa.
Of course, 2024 is still a long way away. There’s still plenty of time for more cities to decide that hosting the Olympics isn’t worth the cost, or the stress.