Budapest 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid Chairman Balázs Fürjes said Thursday that the Windsor 2016 FINA 25M World Swimming Championship event held in Canada highlights the power of smaller cities to host world-class international sporting events.
Budapest, mainly because of its relatively smaller size, is currently considered an outsider in a three-way race with mega cities Los Angeles and Paris to host the 2024 Olympic Games. Having both already hosted the Games twice, L.A. and the French capital have more infrastructure and venues in place, and are at a scale that can better absorb the costs of the world’s biggest event.
But Fürjes and his team believe that because of new International Olympic Committee (IOC) reforms under the “Olympic Agenda 2020″ umbrella that support lower Games organizing costs, a mid-size city is the right size to validate the new model that will open the doors for more cities to host in the future, not just the big ones.
Fürjes said “sport events of the highest calibre, like this FINA 25m World Swimming Championship in Windsor, help to support our case to the IOC that the time is right for mid-sized cities like Budapest to carry the Olympic flame and spirit to new audiences and to more young people in more cities around the world.”
“Windsor is the smallest city community ever to host a FINA world championship event, and demonstrates that world-class championships that are right for the athletes can be staged successfully by smaller and deserving, host cities, and shows these cities can contribute enormously to making major sporting events more accessible world-wide.”
Windsor, a city of about 300,000 people located in the Province of Ontario, is in one of the most southernmost points in Canada directly across a river from Detroit, U.S.A. For the FINA short course championships organizers built a temporary pool in an ice hockey arena.
Fürjes, also a member of the Budapest 2017 FINA World Swimming Championships Committee, said, “the Canadian preparation in Windsor was excellent – a lot of good planning has taken place – and Canada can be proud of Windsor and this event”.
Hungary had success in the Windsor pool with national swim hero Katinka Hosszu winning seven gold and two silver medals. She also won gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and was recently named FINA Best Female Swimmer of the Year for 2016.
The Budapest FINA event will be held just weeks before the IOC elects the 2024 host city September 13 in Lima, Peru.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.