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Here is an interesting article that I thought you may all would be interested in reading. Click here!

Viewpoint: The Olympic Insider

Putin will deliver Games for mother Russia

Russian leader will be the difference-maker in 2014 bidding

Last Updated Fri., June 29, 2007

by Michael Drapack

On July 4 in Guatemala, the International Olympic Committee will select the host city for the 2014 Winter Games.

In many ways, it's like the race for the 2010 Games. There are three capable cities. There's a front-runner, a dark horse surprise and the Austrians.

This time, PyeyongChang replaces Vancouver at the top of most IOC watchers lists for this race. Replacing the South Korean city that last time surprised many is Sochi, the small resort city in southern Russia. And the Austrians...well, they're still the Austrians.

And they still won't win.

It's tough for European cities to win the Olympics, perhaps tougher than cities from any other continent. Each needs the most ideal 'winning conditions'. That means no other European cities bidding for future games and not too many previous Games having been held on the continent. The IOC is a Eurocentric body and every European country wants the Games at some point.

A European city has to pick the right year that the IOC really wants the Games in Europe. Madrid, Paris and London all knew 2012 was the right year for that. Yes, Paris bid for the 2008 Games but it was a half-hearted effort because everyone knew that China was going to win and that 2012 was the real open competition.

So, 2014 is just not the ideal year for a Winter Games in Europe.

Europe will have hosted the Games in 2012, 2006 and 2004, and at least three European cities are lining up for the 2016 Games; Rome, Madrid and Prague (all of which will lose to Chicago, by the way).

Beyond that, the Winter Games are regarded as throw away Games by the IOC and finding a host city that doesn't upset the bidding for future Summer Games is paramount.

That said, there is greater value for the IOC to put these Games off the European continent this time around.

Lack of public support a concern for Austria

While Austria is a winter sport superpower, public support for these Games is dangerously low. There are few things that actually spook IOC members but this is one of them. Bern, Switzerland recognized this and dropped out of the running for 2010 Games when its public support failed to reach acceptable levels. And the IOC does its own polling; it doesn't rely on numbers from bidding cities.

A few weeks ago, the leader of the Austrian bid said Salzburg will give the IOC something money cannot buy. No kidding. Salzburg just can't compete with the money being thrown around by PyeongChang and Sochi. Oh sure, Salzburg plans to use the most existing venues of the three cities, thereby keeping their costs low, a noble effort that should be applauded.

The Austrians are promising a quaint and charming Games – think the small-town magic generated by Lillehammer in 1994. Too bad the IOC isn't buying quaint and charming. They're into legacy these days – what can be built to the glory of the IOC. This is a big reason why London won the 2012 Games; they were going to build much more than Paris.

Which brings us to the big spenders. The cities that will truly leave a concrete legacy for the IOC: PyeongChang and Sochi.

Tokyo is PyeongChang's biggest rival

PyeongChang's biggest problem is that they weren't able to steal the Games from Vancouver when they had the chance. They snuck up on people four years ago. They don't have the element of surprise this year.

They also don't have Un Yong Kim, the former powerful IOC member from South Korea. He'll be sitting in a jail cell in his homeland on corruption charges while the arm twisting goes on in Guatemala, and nobody twisted IOC arms like Kim. He was a big factor in PyeongChang's near theft of the 2010 Games in Prague.

You must also consider that Tokyo plans to bid for the 2016 Games, so South Korea won't get that support. Japan will also try to convince other Asian countries to pass on South Korea.

That leaves Sochi.

They have a plan that is described as visionary, similar to the Olympic Park that Sydney built for the 2000 Summer Games. But that's not why Sochi will win.

A Winter Olympics in Russia is politically safe and non-threatening for anybody wishing to bid for the 2016 Games. But that's not why Sochi will win.

Giving the Games to Sochi will finally award Russia with a non-boycotted (we hope) Games. Remember the United States has already had two. Again, this isn't the reason for Sochi's victory.

Here's the thing. Each of these cities could probably stage a successful Games if they had too. Each would be different, but each would very good. The evaluation reports, aside from a small negative phrase here or a few more 'woulds' as opposed to 'coulds' there stated as much.

So when all is relatively equal you have to look for that thing one city has the others do not. That one piece of the puzzle that gives them an advantage over their rivals – the 'X' factor, if you will.

And Sochi has it.

Quick, name the leader of Austria? Thought so. How about South Korea? Uh-huh. Now name the leader of Russia. Exactly.

Putin wants to restore Russian pride

Vladimir Putin will win these games for Sochi, for Russia.

When the doors close on that conference hall and the final pleas from the cities start to be heard, the winner can simply be the one that wants it the most. PyeongChang nearly pulled it off against Vancouver with a far more stirring presentation. In Singapore, Tony Blair was seductive in his appeal for London, far greater than the leaders from the other bidding countries.

The West may not like it, but Putin wants to restore pride to Russia. This is a country that not too long ago was a superpower. But its significance in the world fell dramatically with the fall of communism and the break-up of the Soviet Union. Hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics would go a long way to getting that respect back.

Putin will stand before the IOC and ask, but not beg, for these Games for a greater reason than will the leaders of Austria and South Korea (the re-unification-of -the-Koreas card has been played since 1988 and it's still not a winning hand).

It will be compelling enough for the IOC to award the Games to Russia.

The pitch will also be fresh and new because Putin did not support Moscow when it was bidding for the 2012 Games.

Oh sure, Sochi will have to build pretty much every venue that isn't on a mountain, but we know this is not a concern of the IOC. They awarded the Games to London last time out and how many billions of pounds are they over-budget today?

Sochi won't have to worry about environmental reviews and transparent economic oversight, those pesky manifestations of open democracy that can really mess up a mega-project. When Putin, an ex-KGB officer, says it'll all be built on time, we can pretty much take him at his word.

It'll be a great one listen to on July 4.

Za vashe zdorovye!

[Copyright CBC.CA]

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What exactly happened with 2008? I thought Beijing was a suprise, and many were banking on Toronto?

I believe that JAS and many in the IOC were anxious to make sure that Beijing's second bid wouldn't fail like it unexpectedly did for 2000.They were determined to bring the Games to China and didn't want to be thwarted a second time.Though it was widely accepted that Toronto's bid was technically the best one,the results of the vote seemed to bear out the IOC's determination to finally reward the Chinese.There were only two ballots and Beijing immediately went into a commanding lead in the first one and literally swamped its rivals in the second with 56 votes compared to just 22 for Toronto,18 for Paris and 9 for Istanbul.Not even close!

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I believe that JAS and many in the IOC were anxious to make sure that Beijing's second bid wouldn't fail like it unexpectedly did for 2000.They were determined to bring the Games to China and didn't want to be thwarted a second time.Though it was widely accepted that Toronto's bid was technically the best one,the results of the vote seemed to bear out the IOC's determination to finally reward the Chinese.There were only two ballots and Beijing immediately went into a commanding lead in the first one and literally swamped its rivals in the second with 56 votes compared to just 22 for Toronto,18 for Paris and 9 for Istanbul.Not even close!

ahhhhh I see, thanks!

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