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Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

Site Selection for the Olympics

in: Meeting Planning Experience Site Selection

187087367Can you even imagine hosting the Olympics? As we know, any event that requires a citywide presence comes with many challenges.  Take a citywide x 100 and you may come close to understanding what the Olympic host city faces.

First and foremost, the city must prove that it is big enough to handle the athletes, tourists, journalists, politicians and more, that will be flowing into their city.  All of these folks will need to arrive safely and have a place to stay. They will require plenty of places to dine, transportation to and from here and there and, these days, a plethora of security will need to be put in place.

Residents of the host city may also need a bit of convincing.  It may seem like an awesome idea to have the Olympics come to your town, but when the subject of “How are we going to pay for this?” comes up, they may feel a bit differently; especially if those additional funds are coming by way of taxes. The city will need to prove to their people that these additional costs will also mean new jobs, greater tourism and other amazing advantages for its residents. Other reasons may include a showing of pride in their city or country or a chance to be in the spotlight of the world for a time. Regardless, it is going to cost plenty.

Not only must the host city be able to handle the logistics and convince its residents, but also they will have to prove they understand the responsibility of being on the world stage. The IOC (or International Olympic Commission) must be convinced that the city is able to uphold a positive image, and not turn their Olympics into a 5-ring circus. Media exposure is sure to be high, and with social media, everybody is a reporter.  The likelihood of any of the city’s questionable or strange offerings being exposed is high.   As we have seen with Sochi, the athletes have not been shy about showing off poor accommodations, questionable food, and challenges both on and off the course or field.

It is quite the undertaking to even become a candidate to host the Olympics. Take a look at the bidding process for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

As a seasoned meeting professional who has sent out thousands of RFPs over the years, I would love to see how many pages long the “RFP” for this one is! I just can’t help but wonder – what it would be like to put items in a proposal like “The host property must commit to building an Olympic Village, and perhaps a new stadium or two”? Wow!


Thank you to RiaNovosti for the image. 

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