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Is Almaty actually the perfect fit for 2030? (.....seriously)


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Yup........this thread is happening.  Im making it happen.  I love pain and dwelling on "what ifs" so here we go.  

Almaty could very well be the perfect fit here, and for more than a few good reasons.  Lets look at the current "feeler" candidates:

1)  Sapporo.  LOL.  If this one has to be explained, there is no saving you.  The Tokyo experienced just poisoned Japan off the Olympics for the next 200+ years.  I actually sincerely feel the normally timid, tranquil people of Japan would go full on militant if a Sapporo bid was made now.   It would get violent.  Its not happening.

2)  Lviv.  Okay, I would love this one.  LOVE it.  But this one makes absolutely no sense on the mere fact Ukraine needs to seriously spend its money elsewhere.  I love Ukraine, love to visit, and I would recommend it as a vacation spot to anyone.  But once you go, you know that they need to put that money somewhere other than an Olympic bid.  Once Ukraine gets more on its feet in 15-20 years, I love the potential of this one.  Lets look at them in 2038-2042 and I hope Ukraine has turned around enough to have a serious discussion there.

3)  Vancouver.  This one randomly picked up steam recently, but its too soon.  It's just too soon from 2010.  I do not like the precedence that sends, and frankly, I think this will get killed just as quick as the Calgary grassroots efforts there.  

4)  SLC.  The big red IN CASE OF EMERGENCY BUTTON.  They prefer not to use it due to the extensively discussed contractual corporate commercial agreements in place due to the Los Angeles games. They know they are there for 2030 or 2034, and they know they both want 2034.   2034 fits these guys like a glove.  Save them til then. 

5)  Barcelona/Pyrenees.  This one just feels wrong, all around.  There is no legacy here, and the amount of building from scratch required here would look like a financial boondoggle.  Plus, theres the whole separatist thing which not a good look.  I guess it isn't at ETA status, which we should be thankful of, and I hope it never goes there.  But no, Barcelona for the winter olympics doesnt look right

6)  Norway.  Again, love it, citizens will smite it down.  No sense in wishing it will happen.  Im honestly not sure we will ever see another Scandinavia winter olympics unless something drastic happens.  It is abundantly obvious that they are collectively over it (from a hosting perspective)

 

So here we are again.......the IOC in a little bit of a situation.  Our 2022 hindsight is 20/20 heroes that, frankly, had a stronger bid than was let on.  The guys that probably should have won, and if we could do it over again I think would be voted in without any hesitation.  It looks like a nice, compact bid.  A good deal of the infrastructure is in place.  There is a strong winter sports culture, and oh yeah, actual mountains.  They've proven they want this and there is excitement to get this done.  It is an interesting spot and one that raises peoples' curiosities.  It would put them further on the map and show them that they have indeed carved their own path after the Soviet Union breakup.  Its a good story IMO.  If Almaty knuckled down and went "all in" for 2030, I think they would stand a great chance to get the nod. 

Thoughts?

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You say you're making it happen.. but does Almaty have any interest at all in making it happen?  Otherwise this is purely one man's fantasy.

Yes, in hindsight the IOC would have and should have picked Almaty (let's not forget how close the vote was.. a few IOC members have a change of heart and we're not having this discussion), but let's not pretend that "perfect" belongs in a description of Almaty.  From the standpoint of a winter sports host location, they'd be great.  But it's still a country with a less than stellar reputation.  If they were interested in 2030, they'd get a long look.  But it doesn't seem like they're interested in 2030.  And until they are, that makes them a complete and total non-starter

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There have been some around here saying that the IOC is going all out “safe” these days in picking their hosts; ie. Japan, France, Italy, USA, Australia, & yes, even China is on that list as well that they gave. But nowhere would I describe Kazakhstan as such, & like Quaker mentioned, nor “perfect” either.

Hindsight is always 20/20 & it’s very easy to say now that Almaty would’ve been a “better pick” than Beijing for 2022. Sure, Almaty had a more compact & better plan (on paper anyway) than Beijing did. But let’s not kid ourselves for one moment that Kazakhstan doesn’t have any human rights issues of their own either. On the World Press Freedom index, Kazakhstan doesn’t rank that much better than China does; 157 over 177. And who’s to say that if a Winter Olympics was to be on their horizon, what kind of crackdowns could’ve taken place there, while the world was watching because of an upcoming Olympics, much like we’re seeing now with Beijing 2022.

And I’d even further say that Beijing 2022 actually would hurt, rather than help, Almaty’s case in a theoretical future with what the IOC is going through with China at the moment. Especially with the IOC’s new “bidding reforms”, where the Executive Board just nips any non-credible bids right off the table from the get go, like they’ve done with Qatar, India & Indonesia for 2032. I can easily see the EB ranking Kazakhstan right there along in that group as well. And would make them press “the big red, in case of emergency (Salt Lake City) button”. 

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Excellent thoughts, 

Is there risk involved? There certainly is.  I think the "safe" picks thing will have validation for the summer Olympics, as there are still plenty of takers, but we are seeing the winter Olympics becoming more dire before our eyes.  What would have happened if Italy wasn't the knight in shiny armor swooping in in the 11th hour in 2026?  What a relief that was for everyone who loves the winter Olympics (I am super pumped for this one there's a lot to like about it).  But without Italy's late arrival to the party, we might have been pressing the Big Red SLC button in 2026 instead of 2030.  Safe is no longer a luxury the winter Olympics have.  So we go with the next best, options:  1) does it fit agenda 2020 2) is there an actual winter culture, and 3) can a legacy be maintained?  Almaty checks all three of those boxes.  Almaty did successfully host the Universiade in 2017, which obviously was a smaller scale event, but enough of a  "prove it" to get it started.  

Equally certain is their questionable human rights record.  But a few things here.  One, while China could equally create a problem of "we dont want anymore human rights disasters", and that is valid, it gets back to the previous point: beggars cannot be choosers.  If Europe is collectively not interested, and they dont want to hit the SLC emergency button just yet, what choice do they have?  Second, Almaty has more of a capacity to being a sincere conduit for change within the country and fostering reform within (in my opinion).  Third, China is probably going to be the rock bottom of embarrassment.  If Almaty got it, the dark humor there is "hey, at least they dont have literal concentration camps".  

But of course it is a fantasy, but a fantasy that has more credence than Japan or anywhere in Europe right now to be frank.  Of course it is rhetorical until Almaty themselves make it clear.  But it is certainly something in the realm of possibility as an authoritarian government who would love the pomp of it all.  Because Europe looks like a nonstarter at this point.  Italy was a very lovely and pleasant surprise, but there are no more Italys on the horizon.  Not in Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, nowhere.  They could be the summer equivalent to Qatar, India, and Indonesia.........but when you dont have a Brisbane, Madrid, London, Ruhr Valley...........or even a Budapest or Istanbul.......what choice do you have?  You take your Qatar to the bank and say thank you very much for saving our butts and keeping this party going.  And why would you waste your sure thing in SLC when they are perfectly safe for 2034?  That also buys time to get European nations to maybe warm to it again come 2038.

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29 minutes ago, iceman530 said:

Excellent thoughts, 

Is there risk involved? There certainly is.  I think the "safe" picks thing will have validation for the summer Olympics, as there are still plenty of takers, but we are seeing the winter Olympics becoming more dire before our eyes.  What would have happened if Italy wasn't the knight in shiny armor swooping in in the 11th hour in 2026?  What a relief that was for everyone who loves the winter Olympics (I am super pumped for this one there's a lot to like about it).  But without Italy's late arrival to the party, we might have been pressing the Big Red SLC button in 2026 instead of 2030.  Safe is no longer a luxury the winter Olympics have.  So we go with the next best, options:  1) does it fit agenda 2020 2) is there an actual winter culture, and 3) can a legacy be maintained?  Almaty checks all three of those boxes.  Almaty did successfully host the Universiade in 2017, which obviously was a smaller scale event, but enough of a  "prove it" to get it started.  

Equally certain is their questionable human rights record.  But a few things here.  One, while China could equally create a problem of "we dont want anymore human rights disasters", and that is valid, it gets back to the previous point: beggars cannot be choosers.  If Europe is collectively not interested, and they dont want to hit the SLC emergency button just yet, what choice do they have?  Second, Almaty has more of a capacity to being a sincere conduit for change within the country and fostering reform within (in my opinion).  Third, China is probably going to be the rock bottom of embarrassment.  If Almaty got it, the dark humor there is "hey, at least they dont have literal concentration camps".  

But of course it is a fantasy, but a fantasy that has more credence than Japan or anywhere in Europe right now to be frank.  Of course it is rhetorical until Almaty themselves make it clear.  But it is certainly something in the realm of possibility as an authoritarian government who would love the pomp of it all.  Because Europe looks like a nonstarter at this point.  Italy was a very lovely and pleasant surprise, but there are no more Italys on the horizon.  Not in Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, nowhere.  They could be the summer equivalent to Qatar, India, and Indonesia.........but when you dont have a Brisbane, Madrid, London, Ruhr Valley...........or even a Budapest or Istanbul.......what choice do you have?  You take your Qatar to the bank and say thank you very much for saving our butts and keeping this party going.  And why would you waste your sure thing in SLC when they are perfectly safe for 2034?  That also buys time to get European nations to maybe warm to it again come 2038.

Couple of things here.  Did you forget there was another city in it til the end for 2026?  Italy wasn't the only option.  No question they won it over Stockholm due to Sweden's lack of support, but that's who they would have been left with.  Panic mode would have meant both of those cities dropping out.

To call Almaty "safe" is still a stretch.  It's in a country that has never hosted an Olympics before that doesn't exactly present itself well to the world (unless it's through the lens of Sascha Baron Cohen).  Salt Lake is safe.  Vancouver is safe.  You can say it's too soon since 2010, but if we're playing the "beggars can't be choosers" card, then so what.  If they had to plug in Salt Lake for 2030 because there's no other options, then they'll do that and figure out how to handle 2034.  And who is to say that European nations won't warm up by then that they might by 2038?

If Almaty was in the mix for 2030, they'd get a good long look.  But again, as part of the "beggars can't be choosers," the IOC can't just call up the folks in Almaty and will them into bidding.  If they're not interested now, why would they suddenly become interested?  They're not the answer the IOC is looking for

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There is time, didnt Italy like, no kidding, make their intentions known literally three days before locking in the candidates?  I dont recall exactly, but I remember it was a super last minute decision.  Sweden was an option, but that was going to be a teeth grinder going to a place that didnt even want it in the first place.  

I suppose the beggars cant be choosers card can be played with Vancouver and the timeframe being too soon, but what in the likely event that Vancouver says they don't want it?  I get the heavy feeling that Vancouver just does not want this party again, and it is just a novice understanding of Canadian local politics, but I think Im more aware of it than the average observer (though Im not going to claim to be some subject matter expert in it.  If we are talking Tahoe/Denver/SLC matters Id be much more inclined to weigh more heavily in that regard).  Early polling shows that there is slightly more enthusiasm than that of Calgary, and slightly more enthusiasm than Calgary is not going to get them the games.

Vancouver city council to discuss bid for 2030 Olympics | CBC News (just read the comments below, it gets feisty in no time.)

Kazakhstan is safe from a few very practical points of view.  Civil order is very strong because, well, its an autocracy.  There's not much to see in the way of instability, separatism, or terrorism and thats a very strong selling point for stability and being safe.  Secondly, they wouldnt have to worry about public opinion or local politics because, well, its an autocracy.  They might not care to admit it, but it is abundantly clear that the IOC loves autocracies.  They love them much more sadly than democratic nations like Norway that vote their 2022 prospects away.  

Finally, heavy emphasis that this is all rhetorical/what if territory, I made this post well aware of that, and this seemed like the appropriate place to put that and discuss it casually, which we seem to be doing, which is great and the ultimate intent.

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The IOC loves autocracies when they’re China & Russia, economic powerhouses with a lot of geopolitical influence. Not so much backwater despots like Azerbaijan, Qatar & Kazakhstan. I also think the last thing the IOC needs (or even wants) right now is another “authoritarian government who would love the pomp of it all”. That’s what’s getting them into trouble right now with Beijing 2022.

There have been some athletes already that have publicly come out to say that the IOC should consider much more seriously the human rights record of candidate nations before awarding the Olympic Games. And all those reasons you cited are precisely why Almaty would NOT be a “safe” option. Another totalitarian Olympics who has their citizenry ruled by an iron fist? The IOC won’t risk it with a small player like that on the global stage. 
 
The Winter Olympics do seem right now like they’re in more dire straights than their summer counterpart, but I think it’s still a bit too soon to dismiss anyone just yet, just like the example with Italy has come up with them showing up at the last minute for 2026. I also think we’ll know more about Sapporo after Tokyo 2020ne. Although, I’d say that 2034 seems more likely in their case at this point. 

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Having been across Kazakhstan and been to Almaty- I think it is actually a pretty safe choice, and Almaty is a fantastic city. My only concern would be hotels, because there only seemed to be 5-6 top hotels.

I went to World Expo 2017 in Astana, and it was a great success with over 100 countries (including all the big ones)....the Government spends money like crazy on stuff like this, so that wouldn't be a problem!

Human rights are not great, but they are slowly improving, and Kazakhstan created visa free travel following Expo- a big step for a former Soviet Republic.

 

 

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1 hour ago, TorchbearerSydney said:

Having been across Kazakhstan and been to Almaty- I think it is actually a pretty safe choice, and Almaty is a fantastic city. My only concern would be hotels, because there only seemed to be 5-6 top hotels.

I went to World Expo 2017 in Astana, and it was a great success with over 100 countries (including all the big ones)....the Government spends money like crazy on stuff like this, so that wouldn't be a problem!

Human rights are not great, but they are slowly improving, and Kazakhstan created visa free travel following Expo- a big step for a former Soviet Republic.

 

 

that was supposedly one of the flaws of the bid too (the hotel thing).  That can easily be addressed too.  

Ive also heard things are slowly getting better from a reformer standpoint (same as Uzbekistan who also recently lost their own despot).  After their previous president, they can only go up you'd think.

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in fact, if there was to be more hotels added, I would be a huge proponent on at least a couple of those high end hotels actually in the mountains.  Looked on booking.com and there is a surprising dearth in that department.  

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