January 2017: eight guys in suits and one wrestler, Yannick Szczepaniak, ringing in the new year in Paris. Some of the suits: French Olympic committee president Denis Masseglia, second from left; Tony Estanguet, Paris 2024 bid leader, third from left; Guy Drut, French IOC member, fourth from right

2024 Bid Cities

Enough already with the many bid hypocrisies

Let’s have fun with French. You don’t even need to speak French — much — to play along.

I will play the part of a voyeur, someone who has spent nearly 20 years reporting, writing and observing about the Olympic movement, in particular the bid process for the Games. You can be the public. In French, that translates into the word “audience.” Even when it seems all by itself like an English word.

Hein Verbruggen -- former IOC member, former chair 2008 Beijing coordination commission, former cycling federation president, former SportAccord president

2024 Bid Cities

Tear it up, throw it away, start all over again

Jacques Rogge served as president of the International Olympic Committee for 12 years, from 2001 until 2013. A key insider during the Rogge years — if not the supremely key insider — was the then-cycling federation president, Hein Verbruggen of Holland.

Verbruggen himself became an IOC member in 1996. In 2001, he led the IOC “evaluation” team for the 2008 Games; the members would select Beijing. Thereafter, Rogge appointed Verbruggen to head what the IOC calls its “coordination” commission — the link between local organizers and the IOC.

The Athens Aquatics Center 10 years later // Google Images

2024 Bid Cities

Why do the Olympics generate such bad press?

The Olympics can and should be a wonderful thing. Further, the International Olympic Committee naturally wants to be viewed in a positive light for the Games and for the many good things it does each and every day around our world. But increasingly the Olympic movement generates — day after day, week after week, year after year — negative headlines. Why?

Corruption allegations tied to recent editions of the Games (Rio, Sochi). Government-underwritten cost overruns tied to recent editions of the Games (Rio, Sochi, London, Beijing, Athens). Stadiums and sports venues abandoned to rot in the sun (Rio, Athens). And more, way more. What kind of business model is that?