Don't Look Now, Rio, But Your 2016 Olympic Games Might Get Moved To London
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has allegedly reached out to London about hosting the 2016 Olympics, fearing the selected host city, Rio de Janiero, will be unfit to hold them. The state of Olympic affairs in Rio has been widely reported as dire, with the IOC's Vice President John Coates raising the alarm about construction delays, flimsy infrastructure, and poor water — he's described it as "worse than Athens," a reference to the infamously awful lead-up to the 2004 Games.
The IOC has commissioned a special task force to try to ramp up preparations in Brazil, but things aren't going so well. According to a source of London's Evening Standard, the legendarily shaky preparations leading up to those 2004 Athens Games were still about 40 percent complete at this point along the timeline, while right now in Rio, only 10 percent of what needs to happen has happened.
Brazil has been under a considerable amount of stress and controversy of late. They've been plagued by claims of abysmal working conditions and high fatality rates — Thursday marked Brazil's eighth World Cup construction-related death. The urgency of the situation has led the committee to consider something which it obviously could only view as a last resort — moving the Summer Games outright, back to the same place they were held last time around.
This would not be an ideal situation for the Olympics, nor for London. Firstly, many sites used to host the different events last time have, to varying degrees, been converted into areas for public use. The cost of raising those facilities back up into Summer Olympics shape would be considerable — well into the millions. That's not the only huge-scale headache, either: What was once London's Olympic Village, providing some 17,000 athletes a place to stay, is now chock full of private British residents.
Of course, if the IOC is already being forced into their Plan B just two years out, what happens if these challenges are too tough for London to overcome? Should there be a Plan C in the works as well?
If so, good news, IOC! There can be little doubt that if offered, surely Russia would be happy to open Sochi back up to you, the Games having ended there so much more recently.
Sure, those were the Winter Games, so some adjustments will have to be made. And sure, Sochi authorities might need to start killing hundreds of stray dogs again, and everyone will have to pack into squalid and decaying accommodations, and gay people are still under overt and oppressive legal stigma, and the President just annexed Crimea, and Bob Costas might get pink-eye again, but seriously — why not!