Wednesday, July 06, 2005
London will host the 2012 Olympic Games. All I can say is, thank goodness New York didn't win. One of the things I noticed here in Paris this week was how much people really did care about hosting the Olympics -- it was all people were talking about. I teased them by saying that Hillary Clinton was going to bring it to NYC, but they seemed (correctly, in retrospect) much more worried about that suspicious Tony Blair. Not that I have much actual data, but my feeling is that people on the street in New York weren't really worked up about this, no? But in Paris this is their third serious bid in recent years (1992 and 2008), and they haven't hosted since 1924, so this defeat means that it'll be a long time before the French have any enthusiasm for trying again.
One of the things in London's favor was, paradoxically, that there would actually need to be a greater effort to get the city in shape for the Olympics. As a result, the Games would leave a greater legacy on the city itself -- the East End would undergo a relatively substantial transformation. This might even be true, if my impression is correct about the improvements that Atlanta witnessed when they hosted the Games. But still, I'm surprised that people care so much about this. It's not like it's the World Cup or anything.