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?

That was then: ice hockey federation president Rene Fasel and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at a news conference at the Sochi 2014 Olympics // Getty Images

IOC

NHL: Agenda 2020, drop dead

Agenda 2020, International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach’s would-be reform proposal, holds 40 points. The IOC members passed all 40, unanimously, in December 2014. Some two and a half years later, with the exception of the launch of the Olympic Channel, Agenda 2020 has proven a lot of aspirational talk and not much else.

The NHL’s decision to walk away from the 2018 Winter Games offers potent new evidence of the obvious irrelevance with which it views Agenda 2020 and, by extension, the larger Olympic enterprise. There can be no other conclusion. If Agenda 2020 held the power to effect meaningful change, what would the NHL choose when weighing this essential question: is hockey a brand or a sport?

IOC president Thomas Bach at this week's meeting of the policy-making executive board in South Korea // Getty Images

2024 Bid Cities

Could it be more plain? IOC needs time, stability

The International Olympic Committee, like the Kremlin, speaks in code.

Let us now decode Friday’s announcement from a meeting in South Korea of the IOC’s policy-making executive board that a “working group” made up of the four IOC vice-presidents has been set up to “explore changes” in Olympic bidding. The obvious subtext: the possibility later this year of jointly awarding the 2024 and 2028 Games to Los Angeles and Paris or, you know, Paris and Los Angeles.

Getting started on Snapchat // Getty Images

2024 Bid Cities

Social media and the referendum: made for sharing

Snap Inc., the Venice, California-based parent company of Snapchat, went public Thursday. It’s now worth $34 billion.

As the Washington Post pointed out, that’s more than Macy’s and American Airlines. The New York Times noted that $34 billion is more than “the old-line media company CBS,” and about three times the value of the social-media presence that is Twitter.

Witness No. 4, with wife and son at USA Swimming post-Rio celebration in New York in November // Getty Images

Doping

Less rhetoric, more constructive problem solving

Last December, in the second of his two World Anti-Doping Agency commissioned (but, to be clear, independent) reports into allegations of doping in Russia, the Canadian law professor Richard McLaren wrote:

“It is time for everyone to step down from their positions and end the accusations against each other. I would urge international sport leadership to take account of what is known and contained in the [two] reports, use the information constructively to work together and correct what is wrong.”