Wowereits' olympic dreams shatter against reality

Berlin's Mayor makes a case for the German capital to host the Olympics

With the world's attention on London's Olympic Summer Games, the global competition raises idealistic hopes about the nature of humankind and its achievements around the world. This is as true for Brazil as it is for Burkino Faso. Hosting the Olympic Games is an honour any city would clamour for.

In the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel a few weeks ago, the capital's mayor Klaus Wowereit has challenged his city's population to support him in bidding to host the 2020 Summer Games in Berlin. Typically, a bid can take years to prepare, which is why both the press and the public have reacted to the mayor's astounding lack of foresight with such hostility.

The German Olympic committee was less than impressed that they had not been informed of his plans before the announcement. With only two weeks before the application deadline, questions about his proposal's motives have been raised. Rival politicians accused the mayor of posturing in the run up to the coming election period, and Wowereit was criticised from all sides of the political spectrum.

The German sporting community similarly rejected his idea, especially concerning the time constraints of the application period. By only appealing to the local citizens, as opposed to national sporting authorities, the SPD politician's idea was thought to be delusional. There is little hope that the "Poor but Sexy" (Arm, aber Sexy) city could host such an international sporting event considering how expensive such an endeavour can be. Financing from beyond the city on the Spree would have to be found, and it would likely have to come from the German state.

However, many Germans find the very idea of hosting another Olympic Games distasteful after both the failed attempt to bring the 2018 Winter Olympics to Munich and Berlin's failed bid in 1993. Opponents even protested in the streets that year in an attempt toderail the process. That year, Sydney ultimately won the right to host the 2000 games.

The Berliner Morgenpost ridiculed Wowereit's decision by stating that 2020 was far too early to attempt a bid. The paper suggested that 2024 would be a far more realistic possibility, and the mere fact that this deadline is still four years off gives the city plenty of time to prepare a serious proposal.


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