As Bidding to Host the Olympic Games Loses Popularity, IOC Contemplates Change

The Olympic Games have a troubled history of leaving their hosts in a rough state. While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has devised reforms to almost every aspect of the Games, the IOC is still working to change aspects of the host selection procedure to ensure only the most well-equipped hosts are selected.

IOC President Thomas Bach has even stated that previous candidature processes have resulted in “too many losers.” Just bidding for the right to host the Olympics costs millions of dollars, and with a history of both corruption and overly-optimistic expectations for what certain would-be hosts can deliver, the IOC and Bach devised Olympic Agenda 2020, from which these reforms to the candidature selection procedure emanate.

At the IOC summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, Bach hinted that the selection procedures could be so radically changed that a host city could be awarded the Olympic Games without having to bid against other cities, depending on the circumstances. Bach went on to say that the IOC would not necessarily end the head-to-head bidding process for potential Olympic host cities, reports, so long as the contest “makes sense” and is “appreciated” by the candidates.

One of the principle changes proposed for fixing issues with host selection is the creation of two Future Host Commission, one each for Summer and Winter Olympic Games. These commissions, if created, will serve to “oversee interest in hosting future Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games, and report to the [Executive Board].”

Per an IOC press release regarding the future of determining Olympic hosts:

The Group emphasized five leading principles, which should always be respected when it comes to the election of hosts:

  • -To preserve the magic of the Games to ensure a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the world’s best athletes;
  • To find the best host for the world’s best athletes;
  • To preserve the IOC Session’s prerogative to elect the hosts for the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games;
  • To maintain the fundamental principle of universality;
  • To ensure good governance.

“In the framework of these principles, the Working Group proposed some key changes in order to avoid producing too many losers, as we had for past Candidature Processes,” President Bach concluded.

The new principles aim to provide additional flexibility regarding potential Games hosts, the location of Games venues and the procedure leading to the election of the hosts. They follow the key principles of sustainability, legacy and cost reduction promoted by Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations 1 to 4.

The key changes proposed are as follows:

  • Establish a permanent, ongoing dialogue to explore interest among cities/regions/countries and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to host the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games
  • Create two Future Host Commissions (Summer/Winter) – in lieu of Evaluation Commissions – to oversee interest in hosting future Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games, and report to the EB
  • Give the IOC Session more influence, as IOC Members will be involved from the very beginning of the dialogue;
  • As advisory bodies to the EB, the Commissions to be composed of non-EB members;
  • Both Commissions to include IOC, NOC, athlete, International Federation, International Paralympic Committee and Continental representation
    • Summer Commission: up to 10 representatives
    • Winter Commission: up to 8 representatives
  • Based on input from the Commissions, the EB to set up a strategic framework for host elections for specific Games editions
    • “Host” does not necessarily refer to a single city, but can also refer to
      multiple cities/regions/countries
    • Election timings are flexible and adjusted to the context and needs

Following the interim report by its Chair, John Coates, the Working Group was asked by the Executive Board to further develop the principles for presentation and discussion at the IOC Session in Lausanne next month, including any proposed changes to Rules and Bye-laws of the Olympic Charter.

Leave a Reply

9 Comment threads
12 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
19 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

Seems like a great move

Chest rockwell

Why not just by an island and make permanent venues to host every four years? Counties can bid to host them there and not risk losing millions……


Besides the USA, what other country has successfully hosted an Olympics without the horror stories of delapidated facilites/financial ruin being the result once the Games are over? Those countries who can successfully host should be given first priority, imo.


Salt Lake


As an ignorant swede I must have missed some important memo, ’cause I was pretty sure that Utah (Salt Lake) was one of the 50 states comprising the USA. I guess you learn something new every day. ;P


Utah is on the league of its own! @Stefan!




The UK. London 2012 is a good model for sustainability/long term planning that other countries (including the US for 2028) should consider.


It’s not what the IOC like though “Global mega city and world financial capital sees two weeks buzz for Olympics. Facilities still used because there’s ten million people there”. It’s sustainable, but doesn’t pander to IOC “effecting change” egos enough.

Even then not everything’s that well used. I regularly have meetings over in Stratford and go for a swim at the Olympic pool, it’s not as well used as my local leisure centre.


Australia, a lot of the Sydney venues are still in use.


Sydney, LA, London…these are some of the most affluent cities in the world. I’m pretty sure nobody thinks they are the problem. It’s the Athens and Rios that make people question the process.


what about Beijing? they are still using the water cube…


The water cube is very worn down and they are doing renovations at the moment

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

Read More »