One day, as we sat in a cafe half-way through a road-trip, my Dad, my sister and I started discussing where the 2020 Olympics should be held. I’m not sure how we got started on that topic — I was almost certainly the culprit — but in the pent-up expectation that precedes an Olympics, it is not surprising that we discussed such things.
Choosing a location for the 2020 games, you must understand, is no small responsibility, because it is the first Olympics that I might have acquaintances competing in! I know it is far too early to predict anything with any confidence, but I think fellow Canberra resident, Joshua Torley, runs as good a chance as any (look out for him in the 10 000 metres or the Marathon). And a girl I used to train with, if she improves significantly, might have a chance in the Pentathlon or Heptathlon. Once we get to 2024, of course, there will be more potential candidates.
As I discussed with family members, it was impressed upon me that Rio De Janeiro in 2016 will be the first Olympics in South America. In fact even Asia, despite its massive population, has hosted only 3 Olympics (Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing) — and Africa has not hosted any Olympics at all!
So it seemed to me that the 2020 Olympics should be held in Asia or Africa. Naturally, my thoughts went to cities near where I live. My first thought was Bangkok, and my second was Ho Chi Minh City. Neither would be a stellar location, but they are possibilities. Cambodia is clearly not suitable. Even if the country was developed enough, a good chunk of the games’ budget would inevitably go towards a new Lexus for the son of the Minister for Sport’s third cousin. This might not be helpful.
Not having thought of any great locations close to home, my thoughts wondered to Africa. But the only real candidate there is Johannesburg: most of the countries in Africa are rather too poor to host an Olympics. The other big cities I could think of (Cairo, Lagos, Addis Ababa…) probably won’t be up to the challenge.
Then I thought of Kuala Lumpur! This city fits most of the boxes: it’s in Asia, it is reasonably well developed, it has a decent population (although it isn’t super big like Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh), and it is fairly close to home. Of course Malaysia is not much of a sporting nation (which could be a slight drawback), but I think it is a legitimate option.
This is all just my speculation, and I don’t know what countries are looking to bid for the 2020 Olympics. Indeed, genuine enlightenment was not the purpose — the speculation was an end in itself. We humans (or perhaps I should speak for myself) enjoy speculating on topics about which we have little knowledge, even though it would be wiser to check Wikipedia (although I probably will in the end — after posting this).
I was thinking of putting in a poll here to see what city my readers would choose, but there are far too many potential cities to make a poll practical. So please merely leave a comment (unless you have no opinion).