Elon Musk in secret non-jurisdictional Olympic bid discussions with IOC

Tech multibillionaire Elon Musk has entered into discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an interested bidder to host a future Olympic Games.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Feb. 6, 2018 (NASA Photo)
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Feb. 6, 2018 (NASA Photo)

According to a leaked and uncorroborated memo, the SpaceX founder has engaged with the IOC’s Future Host Commission, though it is not clear whether he is targeting to host the Summer or Winter edition of the multi-sport event.

Also undisclosed is the nature and location of the possible hosting arrangement – new IOC rules have loosened geographical restrictions and opened doors for more creative sustainable solutions. Indications are Musk is entering ongoing dialogue with the IOC as a private individual and not a representative of a jurisdiction.  Olympic bids are normally required to be represented by a region’s National Olympic Committee (NOC).

Musk is a national of South Africa, Canada and the United States but it is unclear whether his intentions will need to be supported by one of those country’s NOC’s.

With many cities dropping out of recent bid races due to the public pushback of projects deemed too expensive and too risky, the IOC has been searching for more viable solutions.  There has never been a privately organized and financed Olympic Games, but after successfully privatizing space travel – Musk might be the best person to privatize hosting the Olympics.

Under a new IOC bid process that in February saw Brisbane named the preferred candidate for 2032 in a surprise announcement, initial discussions are now typically held in strict secrecy. Bidders may speak publicly of their project, but the IOC won’t disclose details.

No information has been revealed to shed light on Musk’s proposal.

Elon Musk is known for his work as CEO with electric car maker Tesla, and in 2000 he co-founded financial services company PayPal that was later sold to eBay.

Musk now focuses on transport technology with aerospace company SpaceX and his less interesting The Boring Company that digs tunnels for public transit projects.  It is rumored that his Olympic interest might be linked to a larger transport infrastructure play, possibly involving a space project or a more mundane terrestrial plan.

His long-term vision includes the development of The Hyperloop, a hypersonic-speed long-range public transit system based on a pressurized, low friction induction system in a sealed tube.

Installations of The Hyperloop have been proposed to link population centers across the globe, with a Los Angeles to San Francisco connection of top interest.

The 2028 Olympic Games are set to be staged in Los Angeles with the 2024 edition planned for Paris.  The Winter Games will be held in Beijing next year and Milan-Cortina in Italy in 2026.

[Editor’s note:  This fictional article was part of our annual April Fool’s Day series.  Though the information is not intended to be factual, we received some interesting feedback on this piece including an email from the former Vice President of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games organizing committee, Rich Perelman.

Perelman emphasized to that the LA 84 Games were in fact run privately, financially disconnected from government entities from the outset.  The host city contract that was signed by the Mayor of LA also included a legal disclaimer relieving the city government from all liabilities.  The LA 84 Games were ultimately profitable.

But the vision imagined in this piece illustrates a possible Games that are not bound to any specific jurisdiction and could be run wholly by a commercial enterprise.  We received no comments from Elon Musk! ]

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of 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.

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