breaking news

Lawsuit from Planned Parenthood, legal group targets new Texas abortion restriction

IOC must consider serious reforms to save Olympics 


And the winner is ... Paris!  

Oh, and also ... Los Angeles!  

The International Olympic Committee, no stranger to embarrassing predicaments, has devised an unprecedented strategy to avoid — or, at least, put off — the indignity of having an empty queue of cities willing to fork over billions of dollars for the right to host 2 1-2 weeks of badminton, taekwondo and a bunch of other sports no one would pay attention to otherwise.  

You see, Paris and Los Angeles are the only ones left standing for the 2024 Summer Olympics, which will be awarded in a few months, and the IOC is keenly aware there's not exactly a long list — zero, to be exact — showing serious interest in pursuing the games that come four years after that.  

Therefore, in a move that has been obvious for months and moved closer to reality Friday during a meeting in South Korea, the IOC set the table for the selection of both Paris and Los Angeles as Olympic hosts. The main stumbling block — and it's a big one — will be figuring out which city is awarded the 2024 games and which one has to wait an extra four years.  

The guess here: Paris gets 2024, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of its last Olympics, while Los Angeles reluctantly agrees to sit on the sidelines until 2028, probably after very ugly fight and only after the IOC agrees to fork over some financial incentives from its overflowing petty cash box.  

"We have two excellent candidates there from two major Olympic countries," said IOC president Thomas Bach, presenting his own version of alternative facts. "This is a position you like to be in."  

No, it's not.  

Sure, the IOC is likely to get a two-for-one deal on its multibillion-dollar boondoggle, but the political situation is dicey in both France and the United States, and who knows if either city can truly fulfill its commitments for an Olympics more than a decade away.  

More important, the IOC bigwigs better start focusing on ways to make this out-of-control spectacle more palatable to those who've seen the financial devastation wreaked on host countries such as Greece and Brazil.  

So far, the much-ballyhooed "Olympic Agenda 2020" pushed through a few years ago by Bach, supposedly as a way to rein in costs, has largely been a bust.  

The next Summer Games in Tokyo are shaping up to be the biggest ever, complete with elaborate, unnecessary venues (despite some efforts at cutting back) and even more sports (baseball and softball are returning, while karate, surfing and skateboarding will make their debuts). 

The situation with the Winter Games is even more troubling, after only two bids for 2022 — both from authoritarian regimes — resulted in Beijing getting another Olympics just 14 years after hosing the summer version. That's not surprising, given the enormous costs (who has snow and the money to build a bobsled track?) for an event that has little appeal in wide swaths of the world.  

The 2024 Olympics were supposed to be the first real test of Bach's reforms, and things got off to a promising start when Boston, Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome entered the fray.  

The optimism didn't last.  

Boston nixed its campaign before it really got started and was hastily replaced by Los Angeles. Hamburg, Rome and Budapest also threw in the towel, leaving the smallest group of candidate cities since Seoul and Nagoya were the only bidders for the 1988 Summer Games.  

The IOC must figure out a way to get potential host cities back to the table, and that's going to require drastic changes.  

Here are a few ideas to get the conversation started:  

CUT, CUT, CUT  

The Olympic program must be reduced. Significantly reduced. There is certainly no need for modern pentathlon, but that's an easy one. The potential chopping block should also include sports with little universal appeal, such as water polo (the men's gold medal has never been won by a non-European nation) and table tennis (China has won all but four of 32 gold medals since it was added to the program in 1988). Ditto for those that require enormous venue costs (track cycling, rowing, whitewater canoeing) and those that don't send their best athletes (tell us again why baseball should be in the Olympics without major leaguers).  

SPREAD THINGS AROUND  

During a 2015 visit to Australia, Bach ruled out the idea of three cities — Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane — co-hosting the games. That's incredibly shortsighted. The Olympics become much more feasible if the IOC was willing to spread things around to several major cities, much like soccer's World Cup. While that would certainly change the Olympic experience for those on the ground, it wouldn't look any different on television, which is how most of the world views the games anyway.  

PERMANENT HOSTS  

The IOC should consider a permanent group of host cities that already have most venues in place to host the Olympics. Among those that could be part of the rotation: Seoul, Sydney, Beijing, London and Los Angeles. All are previous hosts that still have most of the necessary facilities, especially if a few sports are cut. Athens, as the ancestral home of the Olympics, could also join the mix — and maybe get some use out of dozens of venues that were left to rot after it hosted the financially crippling 2004 Games.  

No matter what, the IOC needs to get down to some serious reforms after it doles out the next two Summer Games to Paris and Los Angeles.  

The future of the Olympics is at stake.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

The key stat to look at before you start your fantasy football draft
The key stat to look at before you start your fantasy football draft

There are many draft strategies available in fantasy football, but the one that gives the most consistent results is betting on players who get a large volume of opportunities throughout the season. After all, more touches (carries plus targets) mean more opportunities to score points — the five highest-scoring players by position in points-per-reception...
Martinson’s single leads Round Rock to third straight win

Jason Martinson hit a two-run single in the seventh inning, leading the Round Rock Express to a 6-4 win over the New Orleans Baby Cakes on Wednesday at Dell Diamond. The win was the third straight for the Express, the first time that’s happened since June 17. The single by Martinson scored Brett Nicholas and Jared Hoying and was the game&rsquo...
Bohls: State’s bowl games are wary over potential Bathroom Bill fallout
Bohls: State’s bowl games are wary over potential Bathroom Bill fallout

While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction: 1. Cotton Bowl president/CEO Rick Baker is watching with great interest the deliberations in the Legislature over the pending Bathroom Bill that could cost the state millions in tourism with canceled events from out-of-state visitors and corporations. But his anxiety doesn’t raise...
Central Texas hole-in-one listings

Bill Burke, 7-iron, 136-yard 8th hole at Morris Williams; witnesses: Shawn Higgins, Ray Harper, Will Miller, Hayward Bethel Brett Findley, 8-iron, 163-yard 13th hole at Austin Country Club; witnesses: Scott Bryant, Jordan Uppleger, Phillip Cameron Gunner Garrett, 8-iron, 110-yard 2nd hole at Jimmy Clay; witnesses: Jack Slayton, Mike Arnat, Americo...
Pete Thamel gives two reasons why Charlie Strong could do better at South Florida than Texas
Pete Thamel gives two reasons why Charlie Strong could do better at South Florida than Texas

A few things one can take away from former Sports Illustrated turned Yahoo Sports reporter Pete Thamel’s latest post about Charlie Strong: The coach was tired of watching the Jerry Springer Show … reportedly. The others? Charlie Strong is more likely to score more points next season than he was when he got to Texas. Thamel’s latest...
More Stories