It’s no secret that Rio 2016 was a controversial host city for the world’s most popular sporting event.
In the months leading up to Rio, the governor declared a state of emergency in response to running out of funds for hospitals and clinics. However, the city’s most controversial issues revolving around the Olympics involved the power, bacterial water, and possible Zika virus infestation before and during the Olympics. Even months after the Games ended, some athletes are still living the Rio nightmare with stained medals.
Now that Rio is last year’s news, here are 7 reasons why the Olympics will find greater stability in Tokyo, Paris, and Los Angeles.
1. All three cities have hosted the Olympics before
Tokyo hosted the summer Olympics in 1964, Paris hosted the summer Olympics in 1900 and 1924, and Los Angeles hosted the summer Olympics in 1932 and 1984. Why is this important? All three cities have experience. They know what it takes to govern, fund, build, and provide athlete and spectator experience.
The Tokyo Olympics are roughly 3 years away, yet Tokyo has already managed to set a record in domestic sponsorship with $2.8 billion.
2. No more Zika scare
Many athletes around the world opted out of participating in Rio 2016 due to the Zika virus. Brazil’s summer leading into the Olympic year (December 2015-February 2016) brought Zika infected mosquitos to the country when it was hit by tropical storms.
Some of the venues, such as the outdoor warm-up pool, were closed in the days leading up to the Olympics because of the mosquito infestation.
Tokyo, Paris, and Los Angeles shouldn’t have this problem since they don’t have tropical storms.
Traffic won’t be a concern in the upcoming three Olympics in comparison to Rio.
Rio is consistently ranked within the top 5 most congested cities in the world. The only other upcoming city to barely crack the top ten? Los Angeles.
It may be a stretch to compare Rio with L.A. regarding traffic, but the difference between Rio and the future three host cities (yes, including L.A.) is public transportation. A large majority of Rio residents drive privately owned cars because Rio lacks public transportation, whereas Tokyo, Paris, and L.A. all have busses, metros/subways, highways, taxis, and Uber to ease congestion. Additionally, these three cities deal with roadblocks or closures, construction, and high congestion hours on a day-to-day basis. Adding Olympic traffic wouldn’t do much damage if they start planning traffic routes now.
4. Technology improving athlete and spectator experience plus being eco-friendly
Anyone who was alive during the Beijing 2008 Olympics remembers the opening ceremony. The ceremony was full of colors between fireworks, drums, paintings, and whatever else you can think of that made Beijing’s opening ceremony the best the world has ever seen. It was the first time we’ve really seen special effects in the Olympics.
While Rio’s opening ceremony had special effects, it became obvious Rio had a low budget set for the ceremony. The ceremony was confusing and still left us begging to go back to 2008. Aside from the ceremonies, let’s not forget about the air-conditioning drama in the Olympic village or carbon dioxide emissions in Rio.
Since 2008, we’ve come a long way with improvements in technology, so imagine what technology will be like in 2020, 2024, and 2028. Yes, the opening and closing ceremonies will be memorable, but think about the potential of how efficient and eco-friendly the Olympics can be. Tokyo has already promised to have a hydrogen-powered Olympic village and robots serving and directing the athletes and spectators, which is far more exciting for athletes and spectators than no air-conditioning and carbon dioxide emissions.
5. Venues are already built
Rio’s poor planning left everyone in a scare that some venues would not be built in time for the Olympics.
The future host cities have not only begun the venue planning process, but already have venues built. In fact, many of the projected venues for L.A. 2028 are already city icons: Rose Bose Stadium, The Forum, L.A. Convention Center, and Staples Center.
6. Cities are more economically ready
Rio was not economically ready to host the Olympics. They had no money. It became clear that Rio was in a recession, with high inflation, public worker salaries getting cut, funds for hospitals getting cut, and the Olympic budget cuts.
Tokyo is coming out of an economic slump, but will more than likely be ready in 3 years. The city is predicted to have a 0.6% boost in their economy post-Olympics. It’s too early to predict if Paris or Los Angeles will be economically ready, but with both cities currently having a stable economy, chances are they’ll be ready.
7. The cities will learn from past mistakes
Tokyo, Paris, and Los Angeles would be foolish to make the same mistakes Rio did in 2016. Start planning now!
The IOC should no longer be interested in taking risks with future host cities.