Now for the Olympics

By admin
02 July 2010

How things have changed since Athens beat Cape Town in the bid to host the 2004 Olympic Games – look at the success of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Now there’s talk of Durban, Cape Town or Johannesburg bidding for the 2020 Olympics.

The Olympic Games remain the main sport prize. And with South America getting its first Olympic chance in 2016 – in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Africa is the only continent yet to host the Games.

After the 2010 World Cup that’s something to look forward to. But are Olympics in SA an achievable ideal, and in our best interests?

Clinical, calculated decisions are needed, Cape Town City Council communications director Pieter Cronjé says. ‘‘They have brought advantages such as economic growth to many countries but the opposite is also true.’’

Athens’ Games in fact contributed to Greece’s current debt crisis, analysts say, and half the Olympic facilities there are apparently empty or underutilised

‘‘The Olympics are an enormous undertaking when it comes to planning, logistics and finances,’’ Cronje says.

For example at London’s 2012 Games more than 200 countries and 10 500 athletes will compete in 26 sports at 34 venues. Between 10 and 12 sports can be contested simultaneously every day. Compare that with 32 countries and 64 matches in the Fifa World Cup – and only four matches a day during its busiest stage.

Cape Town has natural beauty and marketability but Durban tops the list in terms of the International Olympic Committee’s preference for a compact, easily and thoroughly manageable Games, Fifa technical consultant Ruben Reddy says.

Johannesburg’s altitude and huge travelling distances between venues count against it. Cape Town has limited usable space, he says.

Durban is one of the few cities worldwide with a single tract of land, from its harbour to the Umngeni River, that can hold almost the entire Games. Everything from sailing to surfing, should it become an Olympic sport, could happen there.

The race for the 2020 Games starts next year and the deadline for applications to the IOC is in 2013.

Read the full article in the YOU of 8 July 2010

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