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I disagree with you for 2032. What if NYC or Chicago comes out of the dark for 2028? I'm sure the IOC would rather have a new American games than a third Los Angeles games. Or if San Francisco puts together a good enough plan? I'm sure the usoc would like to put fourth another winning candidate other than LA.

The problem is that no American city is going to "come out of the dark" without spending tens of billions of dollars on infrastructure. Only the cities that either have most of the venues in place (Los Angeles) or have existing plans for building venues and transit are feasible.

San Francisco is only possible if they work with the Raiders to get a new stadium built in Oakland to replace the Coliseum. New York would need a stadium in the world's fair site in Queens, which would require about a decade of political wrangling.

We have just seen with Boston's withdrawal what happens when an American city tries to "come out of the dark" without either enough existing venues or long term coordination with other sporting interests in a city. it either has to be Los Angeles or some city like Chicago or New York needs a two decade plan for hosting the Olympics.

Edited by Nacre
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Pretty sure we've had this discussion before. If there's nothing sacred about a 400m track, then there's probably nothing sacred about a 50m pool, the 3 meter springboard, 10 meter platform, 70 meter archery targets, the 10 foot hoop in basketball, a 250 meter velodrome, and heck while we're at it, who cares about the exact distance of the marathon, speaking of things that probably aren't sacred.

Again, the problem is that if you change the standard, you have to change every track in the world to conform. So let's see.. put the burden on 1 city, or put it on on many cities. Not a tough call there. Plenty of Olympic host cities (including Rio) have managed to figure out how to address this problem. That a New York or a Chicago has to find a creative solution to this issue is not cause to change a long-held international standard. If the issue is cost, who said these stadiums have to cost $1 billion. Ask US cities with NFL teams (particularly Atlanta, speaking of Olympic host cities) why they're spending billions on new stadiums that they may or may not "need." They're about to spend $2 billion on a new football stadium and new baseball stadium to replace 2 facilities built in the 1990s. Do they need to spend that money? Of course not.

First, you do realize that just about every example you gave is something that has actually been changed over the course of the Olympics. Heck, the exact distance is what is is because one Olympics host wanted to change it.

Second, just becuase the Olympics does something, that doesn't mean the rest of the world must follow. The fast marjority of swim meets, for instance ,don't take place in 50m pools.

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Yeah, but other than the US, no other nation has a need for an NFL stadium, let alone an American football stadium. If the IOC were to implement a track reform, it should benefit all nations. Meeting soccer field dimensions would make more sense, as most of the world would would be more interested in it. Having the rules bend to ease America would defeat the purpose of the I in IOC. Standards could make track dimensions more flexible, but that would kinda just defeat the purpose of standards.

Pretty sure the suggestion is to change the track to be something that fits in both an American and FIFA football stadium... which have fields of roughly the same size.

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First, you do realize that just about every example you gave is something that has actually been changed over the course of the Olympics. Heck, the exact distance is what is is because one Olympics host wanted to change it.

Second, just becuase the Olympics does something, that doesn't mean the rest of the world must follow. The fast marjority of swim meets, for instance ,don't take place in 50m pools.

For 42 years women ran 80m hurldles in the Olmypics. Then they changed that to 100m. These things aren't sacred.

Actually, diving at the Olympics has always been 3 meters and 10 meters. Pretty sure the height of a basketball hoop has always been 10 feet. But good try by you saying 'just about every example" when there are at least 3 that don't apply. And please, do tell me more about major international swim meets that take place in a different size pool that make up this majority. Without bringing up short course events, which are called short course for a reason.

Yes, things change. But usually they change for a reason. And with process. This is neither. Has nothing to do with it being sacred. They're called international "standards" for a reason. If the Olympic track & field meet is supposed to be the pinnacle of the sport, it has to conform to what the IAAF wants and how others are competing, not the other way around. Again, change 1 stadium or change them all.

But if you're looking for an example of something that was sacred and got changed, how about the 6.0 scoring system in figure skating. They had no problem changing it in response to the controversy at the 2002 Olympics. But it didn't get changed first at the Olympics and then trickle down from there. The ISU made the change across the board so that all the scoring was uniform across their major competitions. That's what you're talking about with something like the size and shape of the playing field in track & field. And unlike a scoring system, it would take a lot of money and resources to implement that change. Thus, failing to offset the supposed cost savings of how it would affect the Olympics. It just not worth it to make that kind of change.

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I'm trying to find a visualization of the dimensions of athletics tracks vs the optimal size for association football & American football. It would be nice to exactly how much of a change we are talking about. If the difference is slight, then the non-uniformity between Olympic tracks and other ones might not matter so much. Special consideration can be given for the shortest races such as the aforementioned 100 m dash, but longer races are already expecting to spend substantial time running in the curved portions of the track.

Mind you, we already went through this sort of process as none of the original tracks were standardized. Eventually, a standard was set and it evidently was not too costly to modify all the older tracks.

Also it really only needs to be the tracks that host professional T&F meets that would need modification. Scholastic and other levels of competition can still use 400m tracks. After all, I did not use a MLB size field when I played in Little League.

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I'm trying to find a visualization of the dimensions of athletics tracks vs the optimal size for association football & American football. It would be nice to exactly how much of a change we are talking about. If the difference is slight, then the non-uniformity between Olympic tracks and other ones might not matter so much. Special consideration can be given for the shortest races such as the aforementioned 100 m dash, but longer races are already expecting to spend substantial time running in the curved portions of the track.

Mind you, we already went through this sort of process as none of the original tracks were standardized. Eventually, a standard was set and it evidently was not too costly to modify all the older tracks.

Also it really only needs to be the tracks that host professional T&F meets that would need modification. Scholastic and other levels of competition can still use 400m tracks. After all, I did not use a MLB size field when I played in Little League.

Are you seriously using the size of a little league field as your basis of comparison? Pretty sure that by the time you reached middle school, or certainly by high school, you would have been playing with 90 foot bases and 60 feet, 6 inches for the mound. So let's not compare a professional track meet to what little kids compete on.

The difference between football and track is a lot more than slight. Here's Husky Stadium in Seattle before they removed the track. As you can see, the track is a LOT bigger than the football field (and notice how the edge of the stands goes right up to the side of the track which leaves no room around the outer edges for a long jump runway, although that can also be contained inside the track)..

19980728husky.jpg

That's the size difference you're dealing with. Here's another visualization for you. Look at the LA Coliseum. That inner ring of seats represents where the track used to be before they removed it in the early 90s..

los-angeles-memorial-coliseum.png

So yea, there's an issue with the size and shape of the 2 stadiums. They're not that compatible with each other. You're not talking about some small modification there. That's why what you're suggesting would be extremely difficult (and probably not that welcome a change in many places if it was something that became a new standard, particularly with many stadiums outside the US where the stands don't come up as close to the field as they do here and there's a little more room to work with in the first place.

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Also it really only needs to be the tracks that host professional T&F meets that would need modification. Scholastic and other levels of competition can still use 400m tracks. After all, I did not use a MLB size field when I played in Little League.

The problem is that in this case high schools would be using the major league sized dimensions while the Olympics would use the little league dimensions.

This is like suggesting that Wimbledon become a badminton tournament instead of a tennis tournament for the benefit of Chinese athletes. The IAAF and IOC are never going to agree to this just so the USA can host the Olympics again.

I don't understand this view of American exceptionalism. Why should we expect that -after dozens of countries have invested in stadiums that accomodate the standard track dimensions- the IAAF is going to screw all of them over for our benefit? The IAAF has already recently given the USA their championships in a very questionable no bid process for the city of Eugene, Oregon instead of Baku, Durban, etc. They certainly don't owe us anything more.

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The Stade de France model offers the most obvious alternative to just building an athletics stadium (and it's what I'd advocate for Tokyo 2020 now), but I would like to see a city take on the London stadium model and see it through to the end in legacy as I still think it would work.

Otherwise, you go for something like Sydney or Atlanta with a complete retrofit for a different sport afterwards.

Hamburg's solution looks promising if I've understood it correctly. I haven't read their concept but from the renders it looks like the facilities around the athletics stadium will be partially convered into housing. The ongoing rents from these housing units - or indeed the sale of them - could subsidise the upkeep of the stadium itself. A form of enabling development, if you like.

The final, least desirable solution is a completely temporary facility.

All of the above could work. And all of the above are 1000x more realistic than changing the dimensions of ahtletics tracks to suit NFL, or whatever.

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I will desist from beating this dead horse as well. There are strong arguments on both sides. However, to answer a few final concerns:

I don't understand this view of American exceptionalism. Why should we expect that -after dozens of countries have invested in stadiums that accomodate the standard track dimensions- the IAAF is going to screw all of them over for our benefit?

The proposed reforms would benefit all nations of the world, not just the US. By putting the track inside an association football stadium, the costs of hosting will be dramatically reduced. No expensive modifications will be needed as is the case with West Ham FC's new stadium.

Quaker,

Thank you for providing those images to provide context. It seems that a track would need to be roughly 3/4 the size of the current one in order to fit inside a football field's dimensions. I am not an Olympic athlete, so I do not know if that significantly changes the nature of Track & Field. Ultimately, the issue is up to the athletes. Whether a modified track provides a similar competitive experience is for them to decide. Us amateurs on the internet have no clue what we are talking about.

On one hand, we have precedents from other sports (ice hockey) where changing the dimensions of the arena weren't notable. On the other, we don't know if the experience of one sport translates well into another. In any case, the IOC should at least have a dialogue with IAAF surrounding this issue. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to spend a little money to construct a prototype of the smaller track and have Olympians run it in order to gauge its use as an alternative. If the conclusion of such a study was that a smaller track was unfeasible; I would gladly accept the results.

In the end, it comes down to what exactly does the Olympic Movement want? Are they interested in spreading Olympicism to new areas? Or is sticking to tradition more important. Is the comfort of the familiar really that important. Without drastically modifying the Olympics, Chicago and the big cities of the Northeast will never host the games unless the dominoes of private and public interests align in an impossibly precise manner.

Rob,

The problem is that the Stade de France and other convertible designs are built the way they are only because they are government funded. In the US, stadia are often built privately by the teams that use them. No private for-profit organization is going to compromise its business model to build a stadium that might be used in an Olympics down the road. That isn't a sensible financial investment.

How about my other idea (eliminate track cycling)?

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Rob,

The problem is that the Stade de France and other convertible designs are built the way they are only because they are government funded. In the US, stadia are often built privately by the teams that use them. No private for-profit organization is going to compromise its business model to build a stadium that might be used in an Olympics down the road. That isn't a sensible financial investment.

This is the same US that subsidises professional sports teams stadiums using tax-free bonds to an extent few other developed countries do? Where teams play city off against city to try to get the most benefits and subsidies? Where taxpayers dollars are regularly used to enable new franchsies' stadiums?

I'd quite like my team - Tottenham Hotspur - to get the benefits US teams get from their cities when building new stadiums but we don't have that culture here, so the club is relying on bank loans and (coincidentally since we're talking US stadiums) a unique tie up with the NFL to fund it. West Ham are a massive exception to the rule when it comes to public money being spent on professional teams' facilities here (and they won't actually own the stadium).

It seems neither my nation, nor yours is particularly ideolgical in this sense. US taxpayers are happy to enable pro-sports teams stadium ambtions in a way British taxpayers wouldn't do, but we're happy to subsidise "national" projects like the Olympics and Wembley in a way the US wouldn't.

So, back to what I was saying.....I perfectly understand the need for NFL teams' business models to work 100% if they're funding their own stadiums, but I'm unsure if that's actually true in most cases in the US. Many US teams seem to benefit handsomely from public loans or subsidies upfront to build their facilities. I'm aware that many also have their municipalities over a barrel, which is perhaps a more accurate assessment as to why a multi-purpose stadium couldn't be proposed.

Of course, the inherent uncertainty of an Olympic bid succeeding means aligning team's ambitions with the Games is difficult anyway. That's the greatest problem. And that's why we've seen Chicago and Boston propose temporary or semi temporary stadiums rather than multi-purpose ones.

Edited by Rob.
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The proposed reforms would benefit all nations of the world, not just the US. By putting the track inside an association football stadium, the costs of hosting will be dramatically reduced. No expensive modifications will be needed as is the case with West Ham FC's new stadium.

What I mean is that there are dozens of countries that have already built stadiums for high level track and field events. How will Paris, Durban, Sydney, Berlin, etc benefit from this, since they have already invested in building a standard sized track and field stadium?

This is only a death blow for American cities, since we refuse to spend government money on the Olympics. Meanwhile we spend FAR MORE government money building stadiums for the NFL and MLB. Examples:

  • Seattle lost its NBA team after it refused to give the Sonics' new owner $500 million in government money for a new arena seating 19,000.
  • Safeco Field (a 47,000 seat baseball stadium; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safeco_Field) cost the city $730 million (in 2015 dollars), $250 million more than the $480 million that Beijing's 91,000 seat Olympic stadium cost. I can't begin to describe the hatred I feel for this city's incompetent baseball team . . .

In the USA our domestic leagues are socialized and there is no public money for Olympic venues or athletes. In other countries it is the other way around, so they are not going to agree to this change.

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Rob & others,

I appreciate your comments. It is definitely true that the US professional sports have a deleterious relationship with some local governments. The problem spills over into other areas and makes it difficult to host the Olympics here. It is a complex problem that needs resolution, but sadly there is no political will either in the US or in Lausanne. For context, I will add that Boston is a bit unique in the US because the local government there has not subsidized any of the local sports teams. This is why the Boston Patriots moved to Foxborough and became the New England Patriots. It is why the Red Sox play in a ballpark that is quaint and historic, but woefully inadequate for the needs of a 21st century baseball team.

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I've always thought that your (US) approach to sports is utterly ridiculous when you look at how you approach other aspects of life. There's a PhD in it for someone.

The reason for it is simple. Our domestic leagues have a franchise system which gives them an effective monopoly over the professional sports market. Any city that stands up to them and refuses to give them whatever they want loses their team. I just gave the example of Seattle, which had to pay $750 million to keep their baseball team. After that the city refused to pay another $500 million to retain their basketball team, which was moved to Oklahoma City.

The good news, though, is that the increasing number of leagues means that each individual one has less bargaining power. After Seattle lost its basketball league, the fans migrated over to a new MLS soccer team, which is now one of the best supported teams in the world. "We" have better attendance than Rob's Spurs (please cheer for Deandre Yedlin!) and Chelsea, and are nipping on Liverpool's heels.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQGVaR-CHt0

The only way for a city to avoid having to give up public money to benefit private sports team owners is to let their teams leave. With five "major" leagues now active in the USA, there are more than enough teams to go around now. So hopefully more cities will be willing to stand up to our domestic leagues.

Edited by Nacre
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I think we all need to accept the realization that some cities, particularly those in the US, aren't well set up to host an Olympics. That's not an indictment against that city or the IOC to the point they have to force change to make it easier for US cities to host. There are a lot of things they can do (and hopefully are doing going forward) that make it more palatable for any city to host. But the reality of how sports in the United States tend to operate don't mesh with how the Olympics are run. No one is at fault for that and there's no reason to assign blame. It's just how things are.

NYC lost the 2012 Olympic bid in 2005. In the years after, billions of dollars were spent on sports infrastructure, much of which would have had nothing to do with the Olympics. It's easy to see the benefits of building stadiums for baseball and football teams (and for the 3 indoor arenas either built brand new or gut renovated). The Olympics, not so much. If a city is going to build thousands of housing units, is that out of need or is it just beneficial for the Olympics and potentially a problem afterwards? That's a question every city has to answer. By the same token, when a city or a team builds a new NFL stadium, does it have to cost a billion dollars? Of course not, but that's the price tag these days because you want to build yours bigger and better than the last guy.

Then look at Chicago. They pretty much rebuilt their football stadium from scratch, yet the new stadium has 1 of the lowest seating capacities in the league. So would that stadium have been acceptable for the ceremonies? Doubtful, considering the capacity for the Olympics probably would have dropped below 60,000. So the track & field issue isn't the only thing that was a problem for them.

The moral of the story for me is this.. I've said it before that a proper Olympic bid needs to be well timed and well placed. Boston 2024 were neither of those. Maybe LA in 2028 or 2032 (less so for 2024) is the answer. As much as the IOC should (and hopefully is) making reforms designed to make it easier for cities to bid, we still need to acknowledge that part of the issue is - as Warped noted - with the cities themselves and how they operate. I don't think it's the responsibility of the IOC to make drastic modifications to allow for cities to participate that maybe aren't right for the Olympics. That may be a harsh reality, but especially in the United States, there are so many billions of dollars invested in our domestic sports, both pro and college, that an Olympics may seem like less of a priority. And it may not be a risk worth undertaking. I think we need to acknowledge that and not necessarily fault the IOC if an Olympics isn't destined to work for a particular city, even if that limits them and means they can't spread their event as far and wide as they could.

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The good news, though, is that the increasing number of leagues means that each individual one has less bargaining power. After Seattle lost its basketball league, the fans migrated over to a new MLS soccer team, which is now one of the best supported teams in the world. "We" have better attendance than Rob's Spurs (please cheer for Deandre Yedlin!) and Chelsea, and are nipping on Liverpool's heels.

Of the three teams you mention: By 2016 Liverpool will be in a 54k expanded Anfield, by 2018 Spurs will be in a 61k New White Hart Lane, and by the end of the decade Chelsea should be in a 60k expanded Stamford Bridge. I'm not sure about Chelsea, but Liverpool and Spurs' season ticket waiting lists number in the tens of thousands.

That's not to say Sounders' figures aren't impressive of course, but some PL teams' attendances are smaller than they should be because of difficulty expanding stadiums.

Also, hate to tell you, but I don't think we'll be seeing much of Yedlin this season. He's a young player we took a punt on knowing we'd be able to sell on at a profit even if he does't work out. We've got two senior right backs, so he's probably third in the pecking order at best (Dier can play there too, so possibly even fourth choice). If I was being cynical I'd say we signed him to give the club's profile a little boost in the States. Hope he works out, but if he doesn't, not a big loss for us.

Who knows, I might be wrong, but I wouldn't get your hopes up.

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That's not to say Sounders' figures aren't impressive of course, but some PL teams' attendances are smaller than they should be because of difficulty expanding stadiums.

My point wasn't that the team was somehow superior to the Premier League teams, but rather that they were a start-up team that immediately began drawing fans like they were a Premier League team. Orlando City and New York City have done the same thing this year, although they have big name players to help. That shows that cities can easily recover from the movement of one sports team out of a city since the fans of that team can simply shift their interest to another sport.

Perhaps I should have written "please don't boo Yedlin" instead, which is what I meant. Asking a player who made a lot of hideous mistakes in MLS to deliver excellent defending in the Premier League seems unrealistic, so I don't really understand what the Spurs are doing with Yedlin. He should have gone to some club like Reading instead of a team with European aspirations.

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It's really interesting to me how Kazan is using their soccer stadium (with a temporary setup) for the FINA Worlds this week. I'm wondering if the US bid city would consider doing this in perhaps their football or soccer stadium. If the NFL ever does come to LA, this could be a possibility for their stadium. I just wouldn't want it to have a Final Four basketball in a football stadium feel. I've always heard that the atmosphere is really lacking at those.

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It's really interesting to me how Kazan is using their soccer stadium (with a temporary setup) for the FINA Worlds this week. I'm wondering if the US bid city would consider doing this in perhaps their football or soccer stadium. If the NFL ever does come to LA, this could be a possibility for their stadium. I just wouldn't want it to have a Final Four basketball in a football stadium feel. I've always heard that the atmosphere is really lacking at those.

For LA's initial plan released last year they proposed building a soccer stadium in the Olympic park that would be used for a new mls team. During the games though it would be used for swimming.
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It's really interesting to me how Kazan is using their soccer stadium (with a temporary setup) for the FINA Worlds this week. I'm wondering if the US bid city would consider doing this in perhaps their football or soccer stadium. If the NFL ever does come to LA, this could be a possibility for their stadium. I just wouldn't want it to have a Final Four basketball in a football stadium feel. I've always heard that the atmosphere is really lacking at those.

The advantage that Kazan Arena has (as do many European stadiums) is that there's a roof covering the stands. Most stadiums in North America don't have that. Much easier to cover the hole in the roof when there's already a roof to begin with..

large_news_DSC_9252.jpg?timestamp=143290

There are indoor and/or retractable roof stadiums in the US that could be used. But like you said, you'd want to be careful about the configuration to make sure it's still an intimate atmosphere. I was at the last FINA World Championships in Barcelona. I actually went to all 3 of the main venues (I didn't go to high diving), including Palau Sant Jordi, temporarily set up for the swimming events. That's what would work really nicely in the United States, although you'd still need a secondary venue or 2 with a pool to handle all of the competition.

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