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Kenadian

Athens 1996

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So why exactly did the IOC vote for Atlanta over Athens for the centenial games of 1996?

Was it purely the better choice, was there concerns over Athens being able to deliver on time, or was it purely for USTV reasons?  

Or maybe they just didn't want to see a president of Athens hosting every 100th games - or didn't want to be perceived as automatically giving the games to Athens following the bid process?

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Such a simple question, but such a complicated answer.

There were 6 cities bidding for the Games of the XXVI Olympiad and 5 rounds of voting...in order of how they dropped the cities were Belgrade, Manchester, Melbourne, Toronto, Athens and Atlanta.

While Samaranch favoured Athens and there were two camps within in the IOC - the Athens crowd and the anywhere but Athens crowd.  The Athens crowd thought celebrating the centennial in the city that started it all would be a wonderful thing.  The other crowd didn't think Athens was ready to host the games and would have a lot of issues.  In this crew, Toronto, Melbourne and Atlanta were all ranked as better potential hosts.  But in the end, Atlanta won the day...in fact, while Athens had lead in the early rounds, Atlanta tied Athens on the 3rd ballot, surpassed them on the 4th ballot and then picked up the vast majority of Toronto's final 22 votes in the last round...winning soundly with 51 to 35 votes.

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Thanks for the info - so what changed for the 2004 bid?

I guess another problem for Athens is that many bids are not successful on the first attempt - and Athens couldn't risk bidding in 1992 just in case they got it!

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After the 1996 decision, Greece was crushed and a bit angry.  At first, they swore never to bid again, but soon that motivated a bid for 2004.  Athens learned its lessons well in the previous bid...first, they knew they couldn't expect the Olympics to be handed to them just because they were Greece.  Second, they addressed a lot of the concerns and issues that hurt their original 1996 bid.  And finally, they learned how to play the Olympic Bid Game a lot better.  Rome provided stiff competition and perhaps Cape Town had more sentiment so they weren't the favorite this time and that may have been to their advantage.  Underdogs sometimes come through - look at Montreal, Seoul, Atlanta and Sydney.  They were expected to lose to Moscow, Nagoya, Athens and Beijing but rose to the top.

There was also a bit of sentiment that Athens was owed for the 1996 decision because the Atlanta Games lacked some of the magic the Centennial was meant to give the Olympics.

And so the rest is history and now the Olympic flame burns over Athens.

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