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  • Olympic Aspirations, Opposition in Toronto -- Media Watch


    (ATR) Cities hoping to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics have submitted letters of intent to the IOC.

    Photo of the Toronto skyline taken during the 2015 Pan American Games (Getty Images)
    Budapest, Hamburg, Los Angeles, Paris and Rome turned in paperwork to declare they are bidding for the 2024 Games. Baku and Toronto were still mulling bids.

    With the deadline looming, opponents of the Olympic bid in Toronto began to surface. Last week, former mayor Rob Ford criticized the Olympics, calling the event a "bottomless black hole."

    Matt Elliott, Toronto City Hall columnist and writer for Metro Toronto, says that the possibility of a 2024 Toronto Olympics is just one more "big, vague idea."

    Elliott adds it is "hard to pinpoint the most frustrating part of Toronto's current Olympic flirtation.

    "It might be the way boosters tend to only talk up the supposed benefits of hosting the Olympics. It might be the secrecy.

    "I think my biggest frustration comes back to the fact that this Olympic talk is just part of the same old pattern. Again and again, to the neglect of day-to-day issues like transit service and housing."

    Toronto Star columnist Bob Hepburn has a different perspective on Toronto's Olympic aspirations.

    "Just because Montreal, Athens and some other cities that have hosted the Summer Olympics have screwed up doesn't mean Toronto will," Hepburn says. "In fact, Toronto can get it spectacularly right on the Olympics."

    He adds, "We did it with the Pan Am Games this summer. There's no reason to believe we won't be able to do it with the 2024 Olympics."

    The editorial staff of the Canada's Globe and Mail says "no thank you" to the idea of a 2024 Toronto Olympics.

    "Toronto's bid would not be a long shot," the editors say. The city has come close before, Canada is a 'safe hands' kind of country, and the Summer Games haven’t been held in North America since 1996."

    Vinicius and Tom, the mascots of the 2016 Rio Olympics (Getty Images)
    "The question is not whether Toronto could host the Olympics. The question is: Should it? The answer is no. And the reason is cost."

    Rio Olympics

    The 2016 Summer Olympics will be another test for Brazil, experts say.

    Brianna Lee of the International Business Times say that the country has "been struggling under the weight of a recession and continuing political turmoil.

    "But the games spell opportunity for a number of Chinese companies that are looking to establish a stronger foothold in the Brazilian market."

    In an op-ed for online international news site, José Henrique Mariante says is is a shame that Brazil is hosting the 2016 Games. 

    "When Rio de Janeiro won its Olympic bid back in 2009, Brazil was hailed as a nation on the rise.

    "Now, it is the wrong place at the wrong time to host the 2016 Summer Games."

    "Reality, Dreams Converged" for Atlanta in 1990

    Billy Payne, president of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, in April 1996 Getty Images)
    This Friday marks the 25th anniversary of the city of Atlanta winning the 1996 Summer Olympics. 

    On Sept. 18, 1990, then IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch announced Atlanta as the host of the 1996 Games during the IOC Session in Tokyo.

    In an op-ed for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Bert Roughton recalls the day that the city won the 1996 Summer Olympics. 

    Roughton, who is managing editor of the AJC, says that on the night of Sept. 18, 1990, he witnessed all those involved with the Atlanta bid finally let their guards down.

    "It was that moment of supreme satisfaction when you grasp something unspeakably rare and precious.

    "Something you thought was beyond your reach. You can't reconcile reality and dream, so you celebrate."

    He adds, "By sunrise, I would resume my job as chief Atlanta Olympics skeptic.

    "But that night, I was a proud Atlantan, no more, no less."

    In Other News

    Opening ceremony of the 1980 Summer Olympics (Getty Images)
    Ron Kantowski, a sports columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, discusses how the 1980 Olympic boycott "still stings wrestlers."

    Kantowski spoke with members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic wrestling team including Lee Kemp who said he initially thought any talk about a boycott that year was hypothetical.

    "All I kept thinking about, being a black American, is Jesse Owens [at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin]. And him walking by Hitler in the stands, and Hitler looking the other way.

    "And I thought, 'We're going to go to the Olympics.' Because if ever there was going to be a boycott, that [1936] would have been the time to do it."

    A Pacific Standard article featured in British news magazine The Week explores why the 2008 Beijing Olympics led to bigger Chinese babies.

    "How can the Olympics affect a baby's weight," the article reads. "Because Beijing cut its air pollution drastically in preparation for the event - and it appears the change benefited its tiniest citizens."

    Compiled by Nicole Bennett

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