IOC Could Involve Public In Future Olympic Bid Decisions

A source close to the International Olympic Committee told that there may soon be further overhauls to the host city selection process that could be discussed as early as the next IOC session in Singapore on July 6.

“There have been major changes to the Olympic bid selection process since the IOC Ethics commission was appointed in 1999 and although the changes have been positive the process is now unnecessarily cumbersome and further changes are desired” the source explained.

“Since bid committees already market to the general public both locally and internationally, there has been an interest in giving the public some say in the decision process. The opinions of Olympic fans are important since they’re buying the tickets and merchandise, watching the Games on television and patronizing Olympic sponsors.”

One idea describes a worldwide election that chooses from among two or three candidates that have been selected by the existing evaluation commission, and are technically qualified. Technology already exists to handle this kind of international public election.

The televised “Idol” singing competitions with various regional spin-offs such as Britain’s “Pop Idol”, “American Idol” and “Australian Idol” are models being examined closely. For those shows viewers are able to use toll-free telephone numbers and mobile phone text messaging capabilities to cast their ballots. Each device is limited to one vote.

In 2003 “World Idol” was the international version that polled 11 countries to find a winner. In that contest each country used voting technology that they were familiar with to come up with a national favorite. Then, the results from all of the countries were combined to determine an overall winner

Polling technology is advancing quickly and more countries will have access to it in the near future making this plan not only achievable, but realistic. Soon, the whole process could be handled by the Internet.

Under this model, National Olympic Committees would be responsible for managing the elections in their country, and those with candidates on the ballot wouldn’t have a vote.

“Since the IOC evaluators will pre-qualify the candidates, there is no risk of electing a City that isn’t capable. The public will be able to choose their favorite destination and this will increase the odds of a successful Games.”

Taking the selection process out of the hands of the IOC members will not happen easily – but it could lead to a more equitable selection process. Bids in the past have been plagued by corruption and scandals, and the whole process is said to be politically motivated and not based on technical evaluations.

“I think the bid organizers would appreciate this change, they’ll know exactly what they have to do and who they are dealing with. And involving the public will help increase interest levels and ultimately benefit the Olympic movement” explained the source.

Editor’s Note: Just kidding, April Fools!

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