It’s only been a few days since the announcement of Budapest’s withdrawal from the 2024 Olympic bid, but the news quickly flooded the international press. Most popular websites featured the story factually, however, some of them expressed their opinion on the matter. Napi.hu collected some of the best remarks and we also added to this list.
There’s one thing that the workers of the international press agree on for sure: the withdrawal of another bidder is a great prestige loss for the International Olympic Committee (IOC). However, from the viewpoint of Hungarians, probably Los Angeles Times summarised the situation the most bluntly: Budapest’s withdrawal is not expected to have a significant effect on the outcome of the 2024 application. It seems like the American city didn’t see too much potential in Budapest from the beginning.
“This goes beyond bad optics,” said Jules Boykoff, a political science professor at Pacific University in Oregon who studies the Olympic movement. “It shows there is a serious trend of bidders dropping like flies.”
LA Times goes on by stating that the Hungarian capital tried to win over the leaders of IOC with its “happy peacetime” charm and the concentrated structure of event locations. But this failure suggests that there’s no magic that could help overcome big metropolises in an Olympic bid.
The withdrawal is certainly a huge blemish for IOC, who’s been struggling to find host countries for its event in recent years. The Huffington Post reminds us that all together seven countries have withdrawn from the organising of the 2022 Winter Games and 2024 Summer Games (Stockholm, Oslo, Cracow in the case of the former, and Boston, Hamburg, Rome, Budapest in the case of the latter).
“It’s no secret why cities have been running away from the games: The Olympics’ exorbitant costs, destructive effects on poor communities and empty legacies have all been on display at the two most recent games, in Sochi, Russia, in 2014 and Rio de Janeiro last summer.”
Boston Magazine published an article with the suggestive Oh Look, Another City Passed on Hosting the 2024 Olympics title. They believe that the resistance that formed against the bid in Boston last year shocked the IOC because such a well-organised anti-Olympics movement has never evolved before, and this is what inspired the Hamburg and Budapest movements.
“Boston was the model and it still is. It is definitely the model for what is happening and what happened in Hamburg and Budapest.”
Robert Livingstone, who follows the Olympic bid procedure on GamesBids.com, has been to Budapest recently and faced that the Momentum Movement built political capital from their signature collecting activity. “The Olympics are obviously a huge stage for someone to further their political agenda.” He concluded that the same pattern could happen anywhere from now on.
The Australian news.com highlights both the critics’ and the supporters’ side while calling Prime Minister Viktor Orbán “sports-mad”, “strongman” and “big champion of the bid”. They write that “Budapest became the eighth city to withdraw from the bidding, prompting calls for a permanent Olympics location to avoid the rigmarole of selecting a fresh city every four years.”
Bloomberg focuses on Momentum and how it was no secret that they were targeting a symbolic issue in an effort to scupper Orbán’s chances of winning a third consecutive term in 2018. Regarding referendums, they end the article by stating that “it’s not the first time in Hungary that a decision was made to preempt a referendum and nip a wave of opposition in the bud. Last year, Orbán rescinded his government’s unpopular ban on Sunday store openings after the Supreme Court approved a referendum.”
Lastly, NBC Sports also attracts attention to the seriousness of the “withdrawal trend”. The last time two or fewer cities were finalists for a Summer Olympics was 1988, when Seoul beat out Nagoya, Japan, in an IOC vote. The 2022 Winter Olympics also came down to two cities, with Beijing defeating Almaty, Kazakhstan. “It is possible that both the 2024 and 2028 Olympics could be awarded at the IOC session in Lima, Peru, in September.”
Copy editor: bm
Source: Daily News Hungary