The Principality of Sealand, a self-proclaimed sovereign state off the coast of Britain will bid for the 2016 Olympic Games, GamesBids.com has learned. The tiny nation was founded in 1967 on an abandoned World War II sea fort by Roy Bates but is now ruled by his son, Michael, also known as Prince Michael of Sealand. The country is basically a large steel platform sitting on two giant concrete pylons.
Sources revealed that the bid was inspired by a devastating fire that struck the tiny island in June, 2006. The fire destroyed much of the infrastructure but it was rebuilt by November 2006 at a cost of over one million Sealand dollars (at par with the U.S. dollar). After the successful reconstruction, Sealander’s realized that their potential exceeded all expectations and the island was ready for expansion.
“An Olympic bid would not only show to the world that we are ready to expand and build, it would also give us the incentive to do so” a Sealander told GamesBids.com by telephone.
The tiny nation sought inward investment and was even for sale last January – but now believes an Olympic bid may be the best way to grow.
Sealand has yet to receive membership in the International Olympic Committee, a key step towards a national bid, but the Principality already has an Olympic team of one. The country’s “Athleta Principalatis” was proclaimed in 2004 to be a marathon runner who is currently a dual-citizen of Canada residing in Oakville, Ontario.
David Blackburn told the Toronto Star in 2004 that he aimed to run the marathon at the Summer Olympics.
“Running for Sealand is a big deal, knowing that what they did was so incredibly difficult – founding a nation on an old World War II platform in the middle of the ocean,” he said.
Sealand’s involvement in international sport dates back to 2004 when they formed an international football team (hosted by the Danish team in Vestbjerg). Now Sealand is home to a nine team national league that plays their scheduled Games in various places in England. This is the kind strategy Sealand plans to use to host the Games.
“Expansion potential of the island is extremely limited, we may only be able to host some basic sports here such as trampoline and wrestling and of course yachting and rowing in the sea”, the source said, “but we hope to team up with England to complete the package.”
The 2012 Olympic Games will be hosted in London, not too far from Sealand’s off-shore location. With all of the facilities already in place, Sealand hopes to borrow them for a couple of weeks in 2016.
“Such a deal would help offset some of the cost over-runs that London 2012 is currently experiencing and trying to deal with. We’ll be happy to share the revenue with them.”
But Sealand hopes to host the marquee opening and closing ceremonies at home by arranging borrowed aircraft carriers surrounded by cruise ships for spectators in its own territorial waters.
“Imagine a floating Olympic Stadium where spectators can watch events from their own suite or dining room.”
Bid applications for 2016 are due into the IOC by September 15. Sealand will have to compete with several other bids including those from Tokyo, Rome, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Qatar and either Los Angeles or Chicago to win the hosting privilege. The final vote will take place in 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Editor’s Note: Yes, Sealand exists and most of this is true, but the Olympic bid is just an April Fools joke. Considering the island’s history – perhaps they WILL bid anyways.