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Crusader

A Lisbon bid - bids from smaller countries.

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Scouring Google and Wikipedia, I read that Lisbon, capital of Portugal, had at one stage considered becoming an applicant for the 2020 Summer Olympics race and one person describing themselves as OlympicFanatic had gone as far as to have this website preaching the merits of such a bid.

http://olympicfanatic.com/2010/03/12/2020-summer-olympics-why-lisbon-portugal-should-host/

With many smaller countries particularly in Europe, where one major city which is normally the capital dominates the country, I wonder as to the practicalities of these cities hosting the games. The likes of Copenhagen (Denmark), Prague (Czech Republic), Vienna (Austria), Brussels (Belgium) etc dominate their country and will often 'hit above their weight' in the following areas:

  • Infrastructure in terms of airports, city transportation etc which exceeds larger but lesser (geopolitical) cities
  • International recognition
  • Sporting facilities as capital sports teams often dominate domestic leagues
  • Hotel accommodation as the most likely port of entry into the country
  • Economic dominance of the country, and in some cases the region
  • The host city of numerous international sporting events

The reverse argument of this is Athens 2004 and the severe debt and abandoned/underused facilities which have become the current legacy of those games, but I wonder if 1) trying to exceed Sydney 2) the historical imagination that 'bringing the games home' fired led to the games organisers attempting to out-do previous games when in hindsight a more sensible attitude would have been wiser.

While of course the geopolitical and country size argument enters the conversation, is this a valid argument? For example, Lisbon has a population of 2.8million people, and in 2006 was the most visited European city after Barcelona. Portugal, as a country receives over 13million overseas visitors a year. No problem in handling a large number of visitors there.

As for sporting legacy and facilities, Lisbon has held in the last 20years, the World Junior Championships in Athletics (1994), the Ibero-American Championships in Athletics (1998), the IAAF World Indoor Championships (2001), European Championships (2004), and the European Judo Championships (2008). It has two major football clubs with large stadiums which both have the highest UEFA rating, two smaller football clubs, a large NBA sized indoor arena, another large (by European standards) indoor arena, a large annual Tennis tournament and a national stadium which held the 1967 European Cup and which is waiting to be developed. There are also a number of projects currently halted due to economic conditions such as the new International airport which a successful Olympic bid would start up. I am certain if you look at other capital cities in similar sized countries you will see a similar sporting history and legacy.

These countries are by no means sporting giants, but if that is a major consideration, I would expect to see a number of Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes discovering Qatari ancestory in the near future which will make a mockery of the Olympics in my opinion as competition between nations.

In the future, what chance do these cities have in becoming candidate cities and in fact hosting the games? The Summer Olympics always have had a greater number of potential hosts but are these smaller countries more representative of the IOCs unspoken desire to spread the games, than returning to larger nations such as the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Germany, France etc and hosting the games again in a familiar setting? After all the IOC awards games to 'a host city'.

Just my thought for the day. Discuss.

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I certainly like to think there's still a chance for the likes of a Lisbon, Prague, Copenhagen or (one of my fave fantasies) Budapest to bid. It would really add a bit of spice to the hosting pantheon.

Don't think we should hold our breath immediately, though. Greece really didn't present a compelling example or precedent. And to my knowledge, both Denmark and Hungary have done studies that really put the feasibility of such bids in question. Would really depend on the political will and desire, I suppose.

If any could aspire, it would make sense to work towards it gradually. South Africa is one we've watched a while pursuing a long term strategy, working up through various other events and getting the facilities on experience in place. The Netherlands, too, have for a few years now stuck by a strategy aiming towards a 2028 bid. Whether they get the timing right, is another matter, but they are aiming to gradually building up capability.

I think every now and then the odd, smaller hosting might happen. Things will fall into place for some such bidders now and then. Like any country's bid, it'll ride on the circumstances of the time.

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That's inspiring, Lord David - in fact, I feel tempted to start drafting one of my own!

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I certainly like to think there's still a chance for the likes of a Lisbon, Prague, Copenhagen or (one of my fave fantasies) Budapest to bid. It would really add a bit of spice to the hosting pantheon.

Don't think we should hold our breath immediately, though. Greece really didn't present a compelling example or precedent. And to my knowledge, both Denmark and Hungary have done studies that really put the feasibility of such bids in question. Would really depend on the political will and desire, I suppose.

If any could aspire, it would make sense to work towards it gradually. South Africa is one we've watched a while pursuing a long term strategy, working up through various other events and getting the facilities on experience in place. The Netherlands, too, have for a few years now stuck by a strategy aiming towards a 2028 bid. Whether they get the timing right, is another matter, but they are aiming to gradually building up capability.

I think every now and then the odd, smaller hosting might happen. Things will fall into place for some such bidders now and then. Like any country's bid, it'll ride on the circumstances of the time.

I think the specific problem of the Netherlands is the Amsterdam v Rotterdam debate and the ambivalence of public support.

My concerns with Eastern Europe is the money however I did like the Praha 2016 proposal even if I think they should have just built the main stadium at the Strahov site, in much the same way Leipzig built their new stadium.

The more I look at Lisbon, the more interested I would be in doing a bid book to submit to their Ministry of Sport - they've got a number of venues in place WHICH WILL get used as well as a need for a number of venues to be built including the National Stadium which the Portuguese FA still cling to as a neutral venue despite its delapidated state compared to the Estadio da Luz and the Estadio Jose Alvalade. Indoor sports at the Pavalhao Atlantico and the former indoor bull ring the Campo Pequeno, Tennis at Estoril, use of the Tagus estuary for sailing or and the river for canoeing, or the Sado Estuary, and a local reservoir for rowing and you've got most of what you need. And with Portugal at the forefront of the Voyages of Discovery made by Magellan and Vasco da Gama and with a city which dates to 1,200 BC making it even older than Rome, you've got loads of stuff for the ceremones. It might give the IOC pause for thought

I may need to ask Lord David for some suggestions in putting together a hypothetical bid book if I can find the time.

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I'm so in love in Lisbon ! I wish they could do it!

I'm not sure who can exactly bid or has enough experience to do show, but i'm sure IOC would like to go to news places in Europe.

Especially Eastern Europe. So Portugal, Denmark, but also Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey & Hungary works for me.

I'm not going to pretend i have a fantastic knowledge of those countries cities and their economy. I just been there and though they could do it and most of them could have a terrific legacy as there is some part of their major cities that could really use that big chance.

And if they can pull it off i would have no problem with Ukraine, Romania or Serbia.

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Scouring Google and Wikipedia, I read that Lisbon, capital of Portugal, had at one stage considered becoming an applicant for the 2020 Summer Olympics race and one person describing themselves as OlympicFanatic had gone as far as to have this website preaching the merits of such a bid.

http://olympicfanati...al-should-host/

With many smaller countries particularly in Europe, where one major city which is normally the capital dominates the country, I wonder as to the practicalities of these cities hosting the games. The likes of Copenhagen (Denmark), Prague (Czech Republic), Vienna (Austria), Brussels (Belgium) etc dominate their country and will often 'hit above their weight' in the following areas:

  • Infrastructure in terms of airports, city transportation etc which exceeds larger but lesser (geopolitical) cities
  • International recognition
  • Sporting facilities as capital sports teams often dominate domestic leagues
  • Hotel accommodation as the most likely port of entry into the country
  • Economic dominance of the country, and in some cases the region
  • The host city of numerous international sporting events

The reverse argument of this is Athens 2004 and the severe debt and abandoned/underused facilities which have become the current legacy of those games, but I wonder if 1) trying to exceed Sydney 2) the historical imagination that 'bringing the games home' fired led to the games organisers attempting to out-do previous games when in hindsight a more sensible attitude would have been wiser.

While of course the geopolitical and country size argument enters the conversation, is this a valid argument? For example, Lisbon has a population of 2.8million people, and in 2006 was the most visited European city after Barcelona. Portugal, as a country receives over 13million overseas visitors a year. No problem in handling a large number of visitors there.

As for sporting legacy and facilities, Lisbon has held in the last 20years, the World Junior Championships in Athletics (1994), the Ibero-American Championships in Athletics (1998), the IAAF World Indoor Championships (2001), European Championships (2004), and the European Judo Championships (2008). It has two major football clubs with large stadiums which both have the highest UEFA rating, two smaller football clubs, a large NBA sized indoor arena, another large (by European standards) indoor arena, a large annual Tennis tournament and a national stadium which held the 1967 European Cup and which is waiting to be developed. There are also a number of projects currently halted due to economic conditions such as the new International airport which a successful Olympic bid would start up. I am certain if you look at other capital cities in similar sized countries you will see a similar sporting history and legacy.

These countries are by no means sporting giants, but if that is a major consideration, I would expect to see a number of Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes discovering Qatari ancestory in the near future which will make a mockery of the Olympics in my opinion as competition between nations.

In the future, what chance do these cities have in becoming candidate cities and in fact hosting the games? The Summer Olympics always have had a greater number of potential hosts but are these smaller countries more representative of the IOCs unspoken desire to spread the games, than returning to larger nations such as the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Germany, France etc and hosting the games again in a familiar setting? After all the IOC awards games to 'a host city'.

Just my thought for the day. Discuss.

The idea of capital cities in comparably small countries hosting is rather intriguing - therefore, let me express my gratitude to Crusader for getting this discussion started.

In principle, I agree with the advantages being presented (in terms of the concentration of sporting facilities, transport links, government and major corporations. Certainly, especially in the aftermath of Athens 2004 (and the Olympic Games being assigned, falsely or not, a role in Greece's precipitous economic decline), economic considerations do play a role.

So, which cities could (not) host in my view? Let's take the cities above in order:

BRUSSELS: Interesting choice, multicultural city (70% of its population of foreign origin), de facto capital of the European Union, headquarters of NATO and certainly the range of culinary delights that you experience there speak for the city; the problem I see is Belgium's less than impressive debt burden. Also, for anyone who has travelled through Belgium, its infrastructure (especially the railways) is fairly atrocious for a supposed first-world European nation, so they would definitely need to work on that; its metro network is fairly extensive, though and could certainly be expanded. The Olympic Games might be a good push towards improving its infrastructure - whether the Belgian taxpayer will foot this bill is an entirely different question altogether.

COPENHAGEN: I'd love an Olympic Games in Copenhagen - it does consistently well in quality-of-life surveys, has less of a multicultural feel than Brussels ("only" 21% of its population is of foreign origin), it has excellent museums (former European Capital of Culture 1997), a lively sporting scene (UCI road world championships, rugby union, football, handball, badminton and, apparently Australian Rules Football), lots of parks, beautiful canals, diverse architecture, good infrastructure (although Copenhagen Airport would probably require expansion to handle the additional passengers. Also, it doesn't hurt that they've hosted an IOC Session in recent years. A strong economy and its lifestyle appeal round off its attractiveness as a future "small city" candidate. Plus, outside the Euro - which does put it beyond the fiscal mess most Eurozone countries find themselves in.

LISBON: The city's advantages have been listed more eloquently by Crusader. Yes, the Portuguese economy will be an issue, especially with it requiring European Union and IMF support. Nonetheless, they have co-hosted the European championship before, its airport has a better passenger capacity than Copenhagen's and its boasts the tenth-richest metropolitan area (by GDP) on the entire European Continent. It boasts two UNESCO World Heritage sites, has hosted a World Exposition in 1998 and was the European Capital of Culture. varied historical sights and architecture, an effective transport network and a reasonable sporting tradition beyond Benfica and Sporting. But yes, the debt and Portugal's faltering economy could kill the city's chances for the foreseeable future - as well as the fact that the IOC will be loath to stage another Lusophone Olympics too soon after Rio 2016. Overwhelming public support (and willingness to sacrifice), unequivocal government backing and a strong legacy message could still put it in contention.

VIENNA: Great city, beautiful architecture, awesome cultural hub, decent transportation links, scenic cityscape, scored first in a recent 2011 Economist survey on the world's most livable cities - it can easily compete with other European candidates. Problem: Austria is more known as a winter sports nation - and it can't make an argument based on its Germanophone heritage: the IOC can easily go to Germany, which has at least three cities on offer (Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), maybe even four (if Frankfurt is included). Again, a powerful message would be required.

PRAGUE: Historically, this city plays in the Champions League - plus, cost of living in the Czech Republic is cheap. Plus, Czech athletics does have a solid reputation of sorts, it has a fairly good cuisine and is one of the most wealthy cities in Eastern Europe. It also has wisely kept out of the Euro - a good infrastructure helps a great deal (the metro system would require extension, though). With a quality bid, I'm sure it can play in a "off-season" year. A "gateway between Western and Eastern Europe" message would definitely benefit them. Plus, they have also hosted an IOC Session.

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Portugal's economy is bad atm.

As much as I love Lisbon, it really is a bit decrepit. And as you observe, Portugal needs to fix their economy first.

I can see Budapest as a far more likely candidate.

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I really do like the cover!

Maybe I'll think of a dream bid and draft a bid book for the benefit of the forum members...

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For me Vienna is like the Sleeping Beauty. It was the capital of an Empire, and it went out of History in 1918.

So it is a nostalgic and somewhat oversized city. It has also a very nice subway system. And excellent cakes.

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Starting in 1920, I have tried to list the cities which were really candidate or applicant and fit your criteria (smaller European countries)

  • Budapest (1920, 1936, 1944, 1960)
  • Prague (1924, 2016)
  • Dublin (1936)
  • Lausanne (1936, 1944, 1948, 1960)
  • Amsterdam (1952, 1992)
  • Brussels (1960, 1964)
  • Vienna (1964)
  • Belgrade (1992)
  • Stockholm (2004)

There are fewer than I though, especially in recent years (only Amsterdam, Belgrade, Prague and Stockholm). I was surprised to see that Portugal has never bid.

Edited by hektor

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Not really, not like Innsbruck or Salzburg or Klagenfurt or Graz.

Vienna would probably be more fitting for a Summer Olympics bid...

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As much as I love Lisbon, it really is a bit decrepit. And as you observe, Portugal needs to fix their economy first.

I can see Budapest as a far more likely candidate.

I wouldn't call Lisbon decrepit. There has been some major developments which sprang from Expo98 and Euro2004 along with capital projects like the metro being incremently expanded, but of course other developments like the new airport would be put on hold. If the Portela Airport is closed and the facilities relocate, you've got a major area ripe for an Olympic Park with all the infrastructure including metro 7km from downtown. Or alternatively you head West to the National Stadium. In 16years time I think the economic map will be considerably different for all countries

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Starting in 1920, I have tried to list the cities which were really candidate or applicant and fit your criteria (smaller European countries)

  • Budapest (1920, 1936, 1944, 1960)
  • Prague (1924, 2016)
  • Dublin (1936)
  • Lausanne (1936, 1944, 1948, 1960)
  • Amsterdam (1952, 1992)
  • Brussels (1960, 1964)
  • Vienna (1964)
  • Belgrade (1992)
  • Stockholm (2004)

There are fewer than I though, especially in recent years (only Amsterdam, Belgrade, Prague and Stockholm). I was surprised to see that Portugal has never bid.

Especially in the late 1940s, early 1950s, when Salazar's regime was all about showing off the 'Portuguese Empire'. I think the closest we got to anything Olympic-related was an IOC Session in 1926, where St. Moritz was voted host of the 1928 Winter Olympics (?)

I say Lisbon has everything it needs to make a decent bid... except a healthy national economy (political and popular support would always depend on it), consolidated hosting experience (not bad so far, though), and most importantly (at least in my opinion), being in a sport-loving country.

There's just no grassroots masterplan to make non-football sports more popular and practised in Portugal since an early age. Football takes everything: investment and media attention. There's hardly no role models for kids other than football players (some questionable!) and the very few that excel at a different sport have to sacrifice their whole life to maintain their status and results.

Generalized investment in sports is critical in a long term period to transform a country into a potency. It's becomes even more important in a country like Portugal, with 11 million people of which most are over 60 years. Of course, this necessarily leads us back to the first issue - a healthy economy, which can look with focused interest at a reformulation of the sports education plan.

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COPENHAGEN: I'd love an Olympic Games in Copenhagen - it does consistently well in quality-of-life surveys, has less of a multicultural feel than Brussels ("only" 21% of its population is of foreign origin), it has excellent museums (former European Capital of Culture 1997), a lively sporting scene (UCI road world championships, rugby union, football, handball, badminton and, apparently Australian Rules Football), lots of parks, beautiful canals, diverse architecture, good infrastructure (although Copenhagen Airport would probably require expansion to handle the additional passengers. Also, it doesn't hurt that they've hosted an IOC Session in recent years. A strong economy and its lifestyle appeal round off its attractiveness as a future "small city" candidate. Plus, outside the Euro - which does put it beyond the fiscal mess most Eurozone countries find themselves in.

Interestingly Copenhagen/Denmark is the only Nordic country never to have hosted the Olympics, either Winter or Summer (Stockholm 1912, Helsinki 1952, Oslo 1952, Lillehammer 1994)

There has been talk of a National Stadium in the Amager area and a 65,000 seats facility would be interesting especially as the Anglo-Danish company ARUP are responsible for some of the world's most attractive stadia designers. There is the Parken Stadium (38,000 seats) with sliding roof, the new HC Andersen/Copenhagen arena (15,000 seats) and several indoor facilities used by icehockey and handball teams. There is also a large convention centre and modern velodrome (7,500 seats).

Copenhagen Airport is the largest in the Nordic region and principal longhaul hub for Scandinavian. Modern motorways links to Sweden across the Oresund and potentially within the next 10years to Germany if the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link is built, a tunnel proposed to be completed in 2021. There is also a new metro city being built. Modern infrastructure like the Olympic Park would be like a modern stroll compared to the infrastructure the Danes have completed.

3.5million people live within 50km of the city and in 2008 the Financial Times rated it 4th in their list of Top50 European cities of the future. It has been described as having one of the most liberal and competitive free markets in the world and the World Bank rates Denmark as the easiest place to do business In Europe.

With massive emphasis on renewal energy especially wind where they are the world's leaders it would almost certainly be the greenest games. And whilst Copenhagen centric, football held in Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense and Brondby would spread the games across the country.

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There are Olympic cities (alphas) and there are the beta/gamma IOC Session/YOG cities. Cities like Copenhagen, Lisbon, Montevideo, Dublin, Vienna are favorite beta IOC Session cities. That's why they get those 2nd-tier events because they will NEVER qualify for the Olympic Games. I mean there are anought alpha cities scrambling for the one prize, and folks think that the bet's can even get near the gate. :wacko:

People, please, stop wasting everybody's time.

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What's the problem of discussing a city's capacity and potential with valid arguments - regardless of geopolitics?

If people don't want to 'waste time', they don't write here. Simple.

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