FINA has named three finalists to host the 2016 or 2018 Short Course World Championships, with the winner to be decided on December 11th, 2012 in Istanbul: the day before this year’s version of the event kicks off.
After years of early mornings and late nights to deal with European and Asian hosts, fans in the Western Hemisphere will be elated to know that at least one of the bidders is an American city, sort of. As previously reported, Windsor, Ontario, Canada and Detroit, Michigan have launched a joint bid, and FINA has named them as one of three finalists.
The other two finalists are Hong Kong, China and the UAE: both experienced hosts on the FINA World Cup tour (bringing hope that perhaps with a North American bid, we could see interest in that series return to the U.S. in the coming years).
Houston had shown interest in bidding as well out of the United States, but with their major arena downtown in use by the Rockets, and FINA unwilling to shift the meet earlier in the year to accommodate the logistics just weren’t going to work out, according to a spokesperson for the city.
The Western Hemisphere hasn’t seen any major global meets since the 2005-2006 FINA World Cup made a stop in New York, which was the end of a run where Short Course Worlds were held in Indianapolis (2004), Long Course Worlds were held in Montreal (2005), and then the World Cup in 2006. We could see another such run, as Guadalajara, Mexico has been named the host of the 2017 World Championships already.
Handicapping events so far into the future can be a challenge. One would imagine that financial stability of the bids will be a primary goal for voters in this decision, as there have been several high-profile meets whose hosts have been changed at the last minute due to financial restraints in the last few years (2013 Worlds and Junior Worlds, 2014 Worlds). The UAE is the most recent host among the group of a World Championship, as they hosted the short course event in 2010; the meet was well-organized, but lacked a full house in the massive swimming-specific pool that was built for the event. They also were the culprits behind the 2013 hosting-then-not-hosting debacle.