IOC Looks into Country or Joint Bids to Host Olympics

By Community | February 5, 2014

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) opened up the possibility of an individual country or joint bids being placed for Summer and Winter Olympics in the future.

In an IOC session in Sochi, President Thomas Bach opened the floor to a wide-ranging discussion on his “Olympic Agenda 2020,” his blueprint for the organisation and the running of the games.

The process is aimed at charting a new course for the IOC under Bach, who was elected in September to succeed Jacques Rogge, who served for 12 years.

Despite no formal decision being taken at the session in Sochi it still brought about a debate that captivated the 100-plus members who attended.

IOC vice-president John Coates said the members should consider whether countries – rather than cities – should bid for the Olympics and whether to allow joint bids from different countries or cities.

Under IOC rules, a single city bids to host the Olympics. Joint bids are not permitted.

The possibility of changing the system drew a mostly negative reaction, with members stressing that the Olympics enjoy a special status of taking place in one city.

“One of the unique aspects of the Olympic Games is the unity of time and place,” Canadian member Dick Pound said. “It’s not an event made in a television studio. It’s what happens on the ground. We should be very careful about destroying that.”

The view was echoed by Israeli member Alex Gilady.

“If we go to a country, we will lose the Olympic Village,” he said. “The Olympic Village is perhaps the most important uniqueness of the Olympic Games. Maybe it could be done in the Winter Games, but in the summer if we change the concept from city to country we may start the end of the games.”

Two athlete members, Australian rower James Tomkins and swimmer Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe, also opposed any change. Coventry said athletes would lose the “level of competition” they are used to in a single host city.