Boston: Just say no

Lord knows there's no shortage of issues to get organized about, but I know what my number one advocacy issue would be for the coming year if I were living in Boston right now.


It's the Olympics.


Sure, it's supposedly a point of national pride when your country is selected to hold the Olympics, and within the country it's supposedly a point of pride, of preeminence, a sign that you've made it if your city is selected, but what's the benefit of being selected for the equivalent of a flood, an earthquake, or a major hurricane? Yet that's exactly what the U.S. Olympic Committee wants the people of Boston to do.


Friday Nate Scott posted a column in USA Today laying out some of the practical problems with trying to shoehorn an extra half million people into a medium-sized, already congested city with already inadequate transportation and housing infrastructure. Boston's already been through one massive, disastrous public works program in recent years, and the congestion, delays, and cost overruns of the Big Dig will be dwarfed by the spending and construction needed to build the Olympics.


In addition to the problems with this plan that Scott enunciates, anyone in Boston or anywhere in Massachusetts who thinks that there are already misguided priorities in the city and state budgets will be shocked by what can only be a massive diversion of funding from human needs to this plaything for the international rich.


But it's not just the money. Just last year Norway decided to pass on a bid for the Winter Olympics because of the arrogant demands of the International Olympic Committee to be treated like royalty throughout their say at the competition. Here are some of their demands:


*A meeting and cocktail party with King Harald before and after the opening ceremony, with the royal family or Norwegian Olympic committee picking up the tab.


*A full bar for IOC pooh-bahs at the stadium during the opening and closing ceremonies.

*IOC members must be greeted with a smile upon arriving at their hotels.

*Hotels for IOC members must be pre-cleaned “particularly well,” and hotel management should be prepared to correct the slightest problem posthaste.

*All meeting rooms must be kept at 68 degrees.

*The usual car and driver at the beck and call of IOC members.


When I was growing up I always enjoyed watching the Olympics, and the exploits of athletes like Michael Johnson and Usain Bolt remind us all that we can count on greatness from the competitors. Nevertheless, as time goes on, the excess of the ceremonies, the celebrity and personality focus of the coverage, and the sheer bloat of the entire event has led me to conclude that I don't really care if they have another Olympics ever.


At a minimum, I would expect the people of Boston to be saying “Not here”.

5 thoughts on “Boston: Just say no

  1. IOC members must be greeted with a smile upon arriving at their hotels.

    Wonder if there is any alternative groveling permissible (bowing or a simple doff of the hat)or must it be a smile?

  2. The spiraling cost of hosting the Olympics calls for a major rethink of the business of moving the games around every four years, the endless (and corrupt) bidding process, the tremendous waste of funds, the ugly politics of the IOC, the kowtowing to dictators, the displacement of neighborhoods and populations,   etc.

    Before the corruption and costs manage to completely kill the games, it makes sense to develop a permanent facility for the Olympics, a state of the art athletic centre that could be maintained and upgraded between games, and used as a world class venue for the Olympics (and for various world championships and high profile events in between). It would also be a major tourist attraction even when no events are taking place. The IOC should bear responsibility for funding and upkeep – not the host country.  (And it would probably make sense to use the facility for things like IOC administrative headquarters, high tech drug testing facilities and research lab, training facilities for developing world athletes, etc)

    Of course such a facility should be in Greece, the home of the original games. It would provide a major source of revenue for a country in desperate need of it….

    (A similar permanent winter site could be developed in an appropriate location – Norway, Austria, Canada.)

    It, unfortunately, won’t happen because it require the IOC and the vested financial and political interests that run it to dramatically change their model for the games – something they have shown no interest in doing. So they will continue to run the Olympics into the ground until they collapse under the weight of corruption, costs, politics and hypocrisy….

  3. the links contain links which beget more links. I read in-depth re the issue – very interesting & heartening to see a society which turns thumbs down to this ridiculously elitist system.

    The “terms” were published in Norwegian MSM or the rest of the world may never have known. Apparently their society abhors the system of royalty vs subjects aka commoners in GB plus they likely have recollection of previous exploits courtesy of this brazenly haughty bunch, as mere 12% has a favorable view of the IOC. Rather amazing since Oslo & the winter sports which are enshrined in the culture.

    After this very public slap in the face, now IOC officionados are claiming no politicians (aka bureaucrats) were involved in the Norwegian Olympic Committee & it was a “misunderstanding”. They claim the so-called demands are only ‘requsted guidelines’ & it’s due to the political climate. Uh huh. I say bull-friikin-shit, they get a Pants-On-Fire award.

    IOC says they will be meeting with Norwegian officials in an attempt to understand the reasons. Interestingly the “order” for introduction of IOC brass is based on medieval protocol! I’m surprised they didn’t request “fanning rooms” including scantily-clad hot babes.

    Hopefully they get a clue that with the exception of totalitarion fascist dictatorships the rest of the world does not live in their medieval-kingdom fantasy world and the diminishment of the rest of humanity.      

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