A source close to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) told GamesBids.com that the IOC is considering designating a permanent city for the Olympic Winter Games – in Antarctica.
Hoping to dispense with the expensive, time consuming and often scandalous host city bid process, the IOC could develop its own Olympic City on land that would be designated international territory and be governed by the IOC and its Executive Committee. Development of the site would be funded by the over 200 national Olympic committees and their governments and ongoing costs would be maintained by the IOC. It would operate similarly to the United Nations in New York City.
The advantages would be numerous – the IOC could build a complete set of permanent venues that could be reused each Olympiad. Between Games, the venues would serve as international training facilities to further develop athletes in various sports – an advantage to countries with no winter climates. Other attractions and hospitality services that would be used for the Games could become part of a year round winter sports resort.
Because of the severe climate, the Games would need to be held in the Antarctic summer when the average temperature is -6 C – but that won’t be a problem since it will be winter in the Northern Hemisphere. At that time of year the Antarctic venue will benefit from long sunlit days.
The main drawback is the temperature. While sea level venues will be a reasonable temperature – and some will be indoors – the high altitude downhill venues could reach frigid extremes.
In addition to sports venues, in order to complete a Winter Olympic city transportation facilities and an airport would need to be built along with hotels, restaurants and attractions. A communications infrastructure would have to be established and permanent housing would be required for full-time and temporary workers.
Vancouver, Canada is already preparing for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and seven cities are in the running for 2014 so the permanent city would not be required before 2018.
Currently experts are researching possible Antarctic sites and are expected to report back to the IOC Executive Committee shortly.
Editor’s Note: Just kidding, April Fools!
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