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Smitty last won the day on July 1 2019

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  1. I think the post was partly inspired by tweets like this: I don't think this is a major issue, but Gamesbids (among others) have been taunted by this. More seriously is the way the culture of the IOC has changed under Thomas Bach. David Owen had a good piece on this at Insidethegames: He writes that IOC is becoming more like a multinational corporation, with intense interest in brand management. This probably means that bid processes could look more like the Amazon HQ2 one, but does not necessarily mean that more dictatorships will win; if the Olympics becomes too as
  2. Having been to a couple of these I get the importance of this but it is different to say that it is planned around this. National houses tend to be where most of the athletes from that country compete; in Pyeongchang Holland House was on the coast in Gangneung (I watched the opening ceremony there) while Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden were in the mountains at Alpensia. I imagine that there will be a similar balance. What the IOC wants to avoid is another Albertville, where athletes stayed in no fewer than 8 locations. The new rules mandating enough space in the main village for athle
  3. True, but the city tried not to pay for it, nor did they sell the village as a step towards addressing the shortage. The political failures here run deep... Trondheim is finishing an 8,000 seat arena, there is a speed skating oval two hours from the city. There is a smaller (3000-seat) ice arena, which they planned to rebuild in the 2018 bid. It's a city of 190,000, and it has a large hinterland, so I don't think that there would be high legacy demand for the 12,000 seat venue for figure skating/short track and the 10,000 needed for ice hockey 1. That said, Lillehammer is five hours by
  4. SOK clearly wants to, and a political supermajority for it is there at the national level. The City of Stockholm is the most sceptical party, and this editorial in the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter gives an example of why: Stockholm has been the weak link the past two cycles, politically undermining the past two bids. The City Council has also blocked a new home for the Nobel Foundation and a Norman Foster-designed Apple Store on what was seen to be a prominent site. This is all while the city can't seem to address its severe shortage of housing. If the city seems more preoccupied wi
  5. I think that you're overestimating mobility needs. Anyone entitled to a T1 car will likely get a helicopter at quick disposal if they wanted, as the Russians provided (though wasn't much used in practice) in Sochi. Just as a football world cup--and Euro 2020--means long distance trains or internal flights, so the recent changes enable a more spread out plan. They have put in some mandates, such as the main village having to be able to accommodate all athletes so that they can participate in ceremonies. (This will also mean some programme changes so that dispersed sports have fewer pre-event da
  6. I'm from New Jersey, so yes, I've been loads of times. I was talk in this context, though: NYC cares about sports and status so long as it defines the terms; an Olympic Games would not have given it something it wanted, as you acknowledge.
  7. New York City, if it really cared, could easily overshadow Montreal. Yankees and (maybe) Flushing Meadows aside, NYC is not a city that gains status from sports, as seen from the city's indifference to its 2012 bid. Not the point, though. I was not really trying to focus on Lillehammer but more trying to see a way that Sweden could bid. SOK clearly want to do this, and the Swedish main governing party is in favour (as is the main opposition party, the Moderates); it took them a while as the coalition partner (the Greens) were against during the 2018 campaign but came round in the end,
  8. Q: are you saying that Stockholm Åre could have won with full government support? From the comments on here the past week most don't think that was the only problem. People mostly tolerated the spread-out cluster concept, for example. (They have the geography they have, and their major cities are not close to the mountains. I would like to see such a concept tried--yes, even with night trains and ferries--and it would open up future winter bids from cities like Montreal, but I am in a minority.) Should they build the bob/luge/skeleton run neither they nor the sliding IFs want? Maybe Sweden (a
  9. It was more against the your point on more pressing public concerns which, if Sweden wanted to spend money on they could. What the IOC's reforms this week clearly spell out is that domestic political risks like this are the prospective host's problem. If Swedish elites want to bid then they need to win over their public to a bid before they approach Lausanne. Maybe. Ostersund's bids of that era (having looked at its 2002 bid book again) were as if it was competing against cities the size of Lillehammer; once larger cities started bidding for the winter games it did not stand a chance.
  10. I would say that the SOK wanted to bid, and has wanted to for decades; it just has not been willing to take on even the domestic political risk to get them, especially since Sochi. The reforms to the bid procedure this week are a clear signal that domestic political risks are the responsibility of the host; if SOK wants these then it needs to build public support. They can take Agenda 2020 into account to make that case to the Swedish public, but they must take on that risk. Recall that Östersund came second for 2002; the evaluation commission for that year was headed by none other tha
  11. Sweden is running a large budget surplus, and has been for years. Its state could easily afford the Games--certainly much more than the Italian one; Swedish voters did not want to pay for this and it would rather that their government be debt-free (given the rate at which they are paying debt down is a real possibility soon). Not saying Sweden has no problems, but a lack of money isn't one of them. Sweden appears to lack the elite culture that makes getting the Olympics a high political priority. The Games are something local and national elites do to make a statement--to show the world
  12. The odd thing is that the big winter IFs (FIS, IBSF, IBU) are run by northern Europeans who may want to see their home countries host someday. (This fact makes it even odder that the Swedes did not recruit one of them to help with the IOC politics; they paid more attention to their internal politics than the constituency that matters.) I also don't think the logistics are a dealbreaker; they just needed better answers (e.g. sleeper trains) than the ones they gave. In PyeongChang people rarely moved same day between the snow and ice clusters, and moving within the snow cluster was hard. Sh
  13. (Sigh.) It's clear that the IOC went to Sochi because the Russians promised to pay whatever it takes (and then some) and you're probably right. (That said, Sochi was--by far--the most fun I've ever had at an Olympics, winter or summer, because it was disorganised but had a lot of money; eta Rossiya is a phrase I will never forget.) Corruption matters less if the people are still watching on TV--the real risk the IOC runs. It's already had to change the Winter Games to keep younger viewers, and if only autocracies can host then why not just watch the X Games in Aspen? Agenda 2020 and New Norm a
  14. I wrote this elsewhere but it make sense posting this here as well: Sweden lost because it mishandled the politics, failing to realise that the IOC knew Winter Games were fragile and wanted reassurance, not to be treated as if the IOC "needed" them more than the other way round. There was also no story to Stockholm other than the "never hosted" one--which Rio 2016 pretty much ended as a playable card. (Gothenburg is 400 years old in 2021 and is staging a multi-year celebration, which could have been a story.) I hope that they pick themselves up and try and try again until they win, jus
  15. I know that this feels sour now, but the IOC would arguably gain from approaching Sweden seeking a reconfigured bid. I'm surprised that Gothenburg was not considered instead of Stockholm: it has three ice arenas, a speed skating oval, a nearby world cup cross-country course, and is about the same distance from Lillehammer as from Falun. If they tried not to build anything new except the Olympic Village they may have a concept. The IOC after these reforms has a choice about becoming more like FIFA or continuing the openness begun after the Salt Lake City scandal. I don't think Salt Lake is a su
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