SHANGHAI: When the cauldron ignites in Pyeongchang on February 9, it’ll open a sequence of three Olympic Video games in Asia over the subsequent 4 years — highlighting the area’s rising clout, and in addition the declining curiosity amongst Western powers in holding the multi-billion greenback occasions.
After subsequent month’s Winter Video games in South Korea, Tokyo will take centre stage in 2020 and Beijing will organise the 2022 Winter Olympics — turning into the primary metropolis to carry each a Winter and Summer time Video games.
South Korea (Seoul 1988), Japan (Tokyo 1964, Sapporo 1972, Nagano 1998) and China (Beijing 2008) have all hosted Olympics earlier than, however clearly the urge for food stays robust.Outdoors the area, enthusiasm is patchier — a undeniable fact that was underlined when Rome, Hamburg and Budapest all withdrew from the operating to carry the 2024 Summer time Video games.
Final September, 2024 hopeful Los Angeles misplaced out to Paris however was as an alternative awarded 2028, 4 years forward of the traditional schedule — a transfer perceived because the Worldwide Olympic Committee locking in a excessive-profile bidder whereas it nonetheless might.
Beijing-based mostly Mark Dreyer, an skilled on China’s sports activities business, stated Asia’s Olympic hat-trick alerts “a worldwide shift of energy”.“If we had three consecutive Olympics within the West, individuals wouldn’t say it was so exceptional,” Dreyer, founding father of the China Sports activities Insider web site, stated.
“However the truth that it’s in Asia — these are the nations which are capable of bid for these occasions as a result of they value a hell of some huge cash and sometimes lose a hell of some huge cash.“The Asian nations are in a position to do that in a approach that numerous the Western nations are not capable of.
“The vibrancy of those economies, notably China and Japan, versus the West, the place individuals have been struggling, that’s why we’re seeing a shift in the direction of the East.”The 2008 Olympics have been a coming-out get together for China after Beijing noticed off rival bids from Toronto, Paris, Istanbul and Osaka in Japan.
However when it got here to staging the 2022 Winter Olympics, solely Kazakhstan’s Almaty and Beijing have been left to battle it out after a handful of others pulled out of the operating.“Everyone seems to be conscious that having three consecutive Olympics in the identical space is just not nice for one thing that must be the world’s premier sporting occasion,” Dreyer stated.
“I feel they (IOC) simply didn’t have a selection.”Victor Cha, director of Asian Research at Georgetown College, believes that there’s “an fascinating divergence” in how the Olympics are seen.
“The Olympics are a benchmark of improvement in Asia,” stated Cha, additionally senior adviser on the Middle for Strategic & Worldwide Research in Washington, DC. “However within the West, they’re turning into a publish-trendy phenomenon, virtually like ‘revival video games’ offering a chance to reinvigorate nice cities,” he informed forbes.com.
Marcus Luer, founder and chief government of Kuala Lumpur-headquartered sports activities advertising company Complete Sports activities Asia, stated that having again-to-again Winter Olympics, in Pyeongchang after which Beijing, was “much less about Asia and extra about China”.
“The minute China places up their hand, individuals pay attention,” he stated, agreeing with Dreyer that there was little selection left for the IOC however to plump for Beijing in 2022 towards Almaty, judged as a riskier various.”
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