Toronto is considering a bid for the 2024 Olympics -- Mayor John Tory says he's still mulling over the economics of it all. The hard reality is that scholarly research on the economic impact of hosting the Olympics is not encouraging. The vast majority of studies show either no impact or a negative impact.
The September 15 deadline to bid for the 2024 Olympics is a big deal that boosters everywhere are downplaying. In Toronto, they are telling us not to worry, saying it's just a letter -- an "expression of interest" -- and that the letter doesn't mean anything. Elsewhere, no one is saying anything about that date at all. But September 15 is a big deal, and bid cities everywhere should be concerned.
Amid the medal counts, terror threats and Norwegian curling flare lies the notion that the Olympics make the world a better place. Any sense of togetherness or egalitarianism at the 2012 London Games, for instance, certainly did not apply to the podium. Only 85 of the 204 countries with Olympic committees won medals. If we look at what Olympism has yielded for some of the countries most in need of peace and goodwill, the picture is even less inclusive. The reason the Haitian earthquake orphan will not make it to the Olympics is probably not because she doesn't believe staunchly enough in her dreams.
The truth is that when it's convenient, or easy, the IOC has no problem taking action. But not wanting to test the Siberian tiger, the IOC has shown that it only has the courage to stand up for straight athletes. In the long history of the Olympic movement, Sochi will be remembered in part for the IOC's unwillingness to defend its own athletes. Its silence on their behalf will speak volumes.
Measures being taken to prevent misuse of the Olympic designation are intriguing, appalling and hilarious. Fines for abuse can total $30,000. There's the 81-year-old grandmother who made tiny sweaters with the Olympic logo for dolls selling for the equivalent of $1.63, proceeds going to a church charity. And the florist rebuked for arranging flowers with the colours of the Olympic rings. Off with their heads!
The opening stuff before the parade of athletes was weird, bizarre, peculiar, odd, curious, offbeat, outlandish, eccentric, unconventional, unorthodox, queer, unexpected, abnormal, atypical, unusual, out of the ordinary, extraordinary, remarkable, puzzling, mystifying, mysterious, perplexing, baffling, inexplicable, incongruous, irregular, singular, ludicrous, comical, ridiculous, droll, deviant, aberrant, grotesque, freakish, surreal, wacky, oddball, way out, freaky, off the wall, rum, wacko, and bizarro.
For the first time, two Saudi Arabian women have publicly stated their interest in participating in the Olympic movement. But the Middle Eastern nation has never sent a female to the Olympics and doesn't plan on it anytime soon. There are currently 153 youth leagues supported by the Saudi government, yet all blatantly exclude female participation. Is it time for the Olympic Committee to take a stand?