Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Medal Round of the Toughest Olympic Sport

The 2014 Olympic Winter bid committees have spent over two years developing their bids and running first domestic, then international campaigns. They’ve logged hundreds of thousands of travel miles, shaked thousands of hands and made hundreds of presentations.

But now it starts again.

Over the past two years they have just produced a foundation upon which to campaign during the final two days of the bid.

Voting International Olympic Committee members who have already made up their minds can still be swayed. Undecided members are potential trophies for the bid marketers. The press and other media still need to be nagged in order to publish compelling reasons why one city is better than another in hopes that an IOC member might happen to see the piece and make a decision while drinking his election morning coffee.

Then at the final turn on the final day – the bid presentations can be the deciding factor. Is there one element that appeals to one IOC member that she hasn’t been aware of before? Will it capture her vote?

That’s what it all comes down to. This entire race could be decided by a single vote. With only 97 eligible first-round voters in Guatemala, the only thing certain is this race will be close.

Last time around with more eligible voters, PyeongChang missed clinching the first ballot by only three votes then fell two votes short on the final round against Vancouver – and PyeongChang was not considered a contender. For the 2012 Olympic bid Paris was only two votes shy of creating a final round tie with London.

It’s all still up for grabs.

At the end nobody will know what put the winning bid over the top. Perhaps it was a firm handshake with an Olympic gold medalist. Maybe it was a kind word from a national leader. Possibly it was a vote swapping deal with a supporter of a 2016 bid – or one from 2012. Or perhaps an image in a final presentation struck the right emotional chord of a voter.

Most likely, it will be a combination of several of this elements occurring during the final two days in Guatemala. That’s why the bids are pulling out the stops, sometimes driven by momentum, other times by frustration.

At the end the first gold medal of the 2014 Games will be awarded in what has become the most competitive Olympic sport.


vittorio said...

This has been the most spirit-crushing announcement. For me, at least.

vittorio said...

What happened just a few minutes ago was the most spirit-crushing announcement. For me, at least. Looking forward to your thoughts on this.