The long-awaited 2020 Olympic Games has just gotten underway, and it’s set to be one of the weirdest in recent memory. Not only is it a year late, but it’s being hosted with restrictions and without an official entry from Russia (technically, there is the ROC, but that’s a story for another day).
The 2020 Olympics is hosted by a very rich and capable country, so it will still run smoothly, but the same can’t be said for these other events. Sometimes, event organizers make choices that seem to defy belief, and other times, those choices prove disastrous.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar
The 2022 World Cup is still a couple of years away. Major sportsbooks like vasportsbooks.com are only just starting to accept bets on the event, and it would be unfair to rule it as a disaster. But it was certainly an odd choice and one that wasn’t without controversy.
For the non-soccer fans among you, the World Cup is the biggest event in the sport and one that is usually hosted by countries that have a lot of money, stadiums, fans, and a history of great performances.
Qatar has none of those things.
2022 will be the first time that Qatar has made it to the World Cup, and they’re only there because they are the hosts. Qatar has a population of less than 2 million and no real tradition of soccer. What’s more, while the World Cup is usually hosted in the summer when all major European leagues are on break, the Qatar World Cup has been pushed back to Christmas.
Simply put, Christmas is the only time when the weather is mild enough to make soccer games bearable in Qatar, but it also happens to be the busiest time in domestic soccer.
It could run smoothly, but right now, it’s akin to picking Gary, Indiana to host the Olympics.
The 1904 Olympics in St. Louis
The 1904 Olympic Games didn’t get off to the best start. Chicago was actually chosen as the host, but St. Louis threatened to stage a competing tournament and the organizers reversed their decision.
The 1904 Worlds Fair was being held at the same time and it overshadowed the Olympics, made worse by the fact that many countries and athletes failed to appear and few fans seemed to care. The games themselves were a mess, as well, and the disaster threatened to bury the modern Olympic Games soon after it had been reborn.
The 2004 Athens Olympics
To outsiders, the 2004 Athens Olympic Games ran smoothly. It also seemed like the obvious choice, as this is where some of the earliest games were held. In reality, it was a disaster that crippled Greece’s economy.
The Greek government spent lavishly on new stadiums, many of which ran over budget. They hoped that tourist numbers would increase, and the country would benefit from a boom in hotel visitors, but many of the hotels and stadiums sat empty and unused just a few months after the games were over.
It has been suggested that the games contributed to the country’s debt crisis, which occurred just 6 years later, although that has been disputed.