The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is having trouble finding a host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Time Magazine is reporting that Oslo, Norway, is the latest city to back out of hosting the games, who did so on October 1. Stockholm, Sweden, Lviv, Ukraine, and Krakow, Poland, have also removed themselves from consideration earlier in the bidding process.
The only two cities left in consideration are Beijing, China, and Almaty, Kazahkstan, two cities that have less than stellar human rights records, and are both in non-democratic countries. But Norway’s decision stems from more than that; Norway was worried about the overall cost and the autonomy that would have to be given to the IOC.
So why are countries hesitant to bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics? The overall cost is a good place to begin. In 1896, the first modern Olympics in Athens, Greece, cost an total amount of $448,000. The total bill for Vancouver’s 2010 winter games came to $6.4 billion, while London’s summertime turn in 2012 cost over $14 billion. Sochi, whose venues and infrastructure had to be built pretty much from scratch, rang in at an anomalous but no less heart-stopping $51 billion.
Oslo’s comparatively conservative bid of $5.4 billion was seen by some as too conservative, and the fear of the costs increasing, even a wealthy country such as Norway would be reluctant to place a bid.
The biggest reason, however, for countries to back out of consideration is the specific instructions the IOC leaves for the hotel staff where the IOC stays, according to Business Insider. Here are just some of the list (peruse the IOC manuals for yourself here):
1. The IOC hotel must be rated at either four or five stars (a higher rating than any other client group at the Olympics).
2. The IOC hotel must offer: “A full international hot breakfast buffet for up to two occupants for each room (included in the room rate), catering services for IOC events, and 24-hour room service.”
3. The hotel must have a members lounge to be used exclusively by IOC members. If there is no members lounge, the hotel has to install one at its own cost.
4. Doves must be released after the parade of athletes but before the head of the Olympic organizing committee speaks at the Opening Ceremony.
5. Signs around the city telling people where to go should be in sans-serif font and “be conceived as part of the Look.”
6. “100 percent security screening of passengers and their baggage is required prior to entry into the IOC Hotel.” This is not a requirement at other hotels.
7. The venues must be designed such that IOC members and guests are “segregated from press and broadcast” personnel.
8. Every IOC member gets a plus-one at the Opening Ceremony.
9. IOC members must be greeted by “smiling, positive, and welcoming staff” at the airport.
10. Starting two weeks before the Olympics, no street vendors are allowed.
11. IOC meeting rooms must be air-conditioned to 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).
12. “The IOC Hotel must make available at no extra cost, existing sport facilities such as fitness facilities, swimming pool and sauna facilities to all IOC Hotel guests and IOC staff members.”
13. Private cars must be provided to select IOC members at the expense of the Olympic organizing committee.
14. Volunteer drivers for IOC members must speak fluent English or French and be available to work up to 10 hours a day for six days a week.
[Image courtesy of Biathlon News]