Derek Boosey

In less than one month the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games will be declared open. 

The cost for this Olympics is estimated to be around $15 billion ($11.5 billion/€13.5 billion). This is the prime problem. There are other factors such as infrastructure challenges, human rights violations and security requirements.

Every time an Olympic bid city date approaches, the potential negatives are discussed and the suggestion of finding a permanent home for the Modern Olympic Games is brought up. It could be appropriate to suggest that it is time to seriously consider that the 2028 Olympics will be held in its new home. 

The city of Tokyo will stage the 2020 Olympics and next year we will know if Budapest, Paris, Rome or Los Angeles will be staging the 2024 Olympics. This gives the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Sports Federations 12 years to have discussions with their membership, determine the permanent site, negotiate with the relevant Government stakeholders for a win-win agreement, have the venues built and put all other organisational requirements in place to commence a new era for the Modern Olympic Games.

Naturally that also includes the Paralympics.

I’m suggesting that the IOC negotiate with the Greek Government for a dedicated, sufficient portion of land not far from Olympia - the site of the original Ancient Olympic Games which were held every four years from the eighth century BC to the fourth century AD. 

Could a site near Ancient Olympia host the Summer Olympics permanently? ©Getty Images
Could a site near Ancient Olympia host the Summer Olympics permanently? ©Getty Images

Olympia is situated in the north west of Peloponnese which is a peninsula and geographic region in southern Greece. The peninsula covers an area of some 21,549 square metres and has just over a million inhabitants.

I would like to think that the Greek Government would be interested, as every four years they would have a large influx of tourists. This would most likely continue to happen every year as the tourists and Olympic fans would like to see the developing new home of the Modern Olympic Games next door to the 3000 year old sites of the Ancient Olympic Games. 

Further, the Greek Government could encourage sport's goods corporates and high technology enclaves to assist with the economic growth of the peninsula of Peloponnese.

The Ancient Greeks had ‘city states’ when they established the original Olympic Games. When the Modern Olympics were introduced by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in the early 1890s they kept the idea of having cities bid for the Games. 

My suggestion would be to have countries bid to “theme host” the Games near Olympia with the IOC and Greece. To explain further, let me use an example - India. Assume that India is chosen to “theme host” the 2028 inaugural new home Olympic Games. 

Here we have a civilization which is distinctive for its antiquity and continuity. The continuity of Indian civilization is largely due to its ability to adapt to alien ideas. India has a population of over a billion mostly young people and is expected to be in the top three countries in the financial world within the next 20 years.

India could be responsible for the Opening and Closing Ceremony. You'd have many years to prepare in India and then could move the cast of people and equipment to Olympia in time for some rehearsals in the Olympic Stadium and then the historic Opening and later the Closing Ceremony.

They should also be allocated a sufficient number of positions in each of the different organisational divisions in Olympia from 2024 to 2028 which will provide a learning experience which goes with hosting the Games. 

The Olympic Torch would be lit in Olympia and then flown to New Delhi. Following an extravagant ceremony the Torch could then be carried by tens of thousands of runners, walkers and wheelchair users to every corner of India over several months. Then the Torch would be flown back to the Peloponnese peninsula, and run through the nine cities, or maybe ten by 2028, before finally entering the new Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony.

Greece can provide the main stadium and other venue decorations as well as the security, with assistance from specialists from around the world, including Greek and United Nations military personnel. 

In the Opening Ceremony, Greece would lead the parade [as per tradition] and India as the ‘theme host’ nation will be the last country to enter the stadium. The medal ceremonies would be conducted by the Greeks and the medals designed by the IOC and India. The above mentioned responsibilities would ensure that the Indian budget would be reasonable. Greece would not lose money every four years, but in fact be financially successful.

The IOC would be responsible for the new infrastructure and maintenance of the Olympic Sports City near Olympia. Here the situation would require the involvement of all the 200 plus IOC member countries who would need to contribute, based on their respective Government’s financial situation, a certain amount of money over the 12 years between 2016 and 2028 to enable the building of the Olympic Stadium and other sports venues, the Olympic Village and media centre near Olympia. 

Indian culture could be a part of a Games in Greece ©Getty Images
Indian culture could be a part of a Games in Greece ©Getty Images

The Games Village would convert to an Olympic University for international staff and students. Every four years it would revert back to being a Games Village for about three months, which will be required to prepare and upgrade the facilities.

The Media Village can be a totally Greek project, whereby they build the required apartment blocks - rent them to the world’s media during the Summer Olympic Games and the following Paralympics and then recoup their costs by selling the apartments to the general public or international corporations. I foresee many corporations relocating in Peloponnese, based on how imaginative the local and central Government becomes in their offers to the Greek and international business communities.

I envision the IOC keeping their headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, and having a Games organisation headquarters near Olympia.

I have not mentioned the Winter Olympic Games as I have limited experience in this field. However, the same formula can be used and after the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games it could be decided, if they were successful, to nominate Lausanne as the permanent home for the Winter Olympic Games from 2030.

One may ask what about a legacy for the other countries? Well I believe that there are numerous major Games such as the Pan American, Asian, Pacific, European, Youth Summer and Winter Olympic Games. There is also the Universiade and smaller regional Games. For example, Singapore - a city state - recently held the South East Asian Games and built a state of the art main stadium.

The Olympic movement should share the material rewards that flow from the commercial exploitation of the Olympic Brand. The Olympic Rings are the most widely recognised symbol in the world, beating those of all the major brands. Therefore, the IOC will continue to be successful and maybe even more so with a permanent home near Olympia.

In the Ancient Olympic Games, they had a Sacred Truce during the Games. The Sacred Truce did not stop all wars, but only conflicts which hindered the Games. It would be an excellent ideal to select a ambassador from each country - an Olympian who for four years would assist the IOC to carry the Truce message and other important requests or duties as they occur periodically, to their relevant countries.