I spent a lot of time the past two weeks watching the summer Olympics. Unfortunately, the reason for that was hours spent with my wonderful mother-in-law as she approached her death, first in a hospital and then in a hospice. There was a family member or several with her 24 hours a day, and lots of time spent with the TV tuned to the Olympics with the sound turned off. There was also a lot of time at home waiting for the next shoe to drop, with the TV sound turned on.
There were so many feel-good moments and stories with the Olympics, mixed in with the random example of bad behavior or a petulant statement. Dorine passed away peacefully, and this week, as we begin to put our lives back to the “normal” setting, I miss setting the TV for several hours of coverage a day.
Then came the idea. The Olympics should not be held every four years. The Olympics should be held FOR four years.
One of the biggest challenges facing whichever city wants to host the Olympics is the enormous cost, and most recent Olympiads have left the host city with an enormous debt and fine facilities that in some cases have been allowed to wither away to rot.
What if… what if…
Rio held the Olympics from 2016 to 2020, and then handed off to Tokyo for 2020 to 2024? And so on…
First of all, you would be able to allow all sorts of sports never seen in the Olympics, many of which would be a great TV and global tourist draw. Have you ever seen “tossing the caber?” Fascinating. Rodeos are held all over the world – how about one with national teams? Rock climbing, drag racing, obstacle runs, canoe racing, softball, skeet, motorcycle trials, surfing, and on and on. Same with so-called “winter” sports. You can rapidly fill an entire page of notes with potential events.
Some of the usual events, such as swimming and track, could be spread out over months. The sprints one month, then diving two months later, the field events, water polo, etc.
For the host city, you would have four years of tourist influx as people all over the globe fly in to witness “their” sport. The massive infrastructure costs would thus be spread out and the overall positive economic impact multiplied several times.
Most nations now have some sort of training facility for their Olympic teams. It would be fairly easy to make them all operational 12 months a year.
For the IOC, TV broadcasting rights could be marketed in two week or one month chunks to major networks, or the IOC could form its own “Olympics” network offering current sports events, re-runs or previous events, highlights, analysis, etc. Sort of an ESPN but focused on the Olympics. Every day. All day.
I believe the way to dissolve prejudice and hatred of others and all sorts of bias is to watch all the citizens of the world compete in competition. Even the spiteful words of a Hope Solo or the idiotic behavior of a Ryan Lochte can create a positive outcome from the backlash. The human interest stories and the many examples of sportsmanship that vastly outnumber the negatives would resonate around the world in a continuous and positive torrent. Small countries would have more of an occasion to celebrate their successes, as the medal domination of the United States would be diluted by both time and the addition of several dozen new events, some of which are almost unknown in this country.
Enough of this every four years stuff. Let’s make the Olympics permanent.
Copyright 2016 David Preston