Top Olympic Bid Stories of 2008: Beijing Sets Bar Too High and Doha Gets Shut Out

As first ever Top Ten Olympic bid Stories list for 2008 closes in on the top – we have a look at two very significant stories that occured this past year. Both stories create fundamentals that future bids will need to closely observe.

#10- Chicago fights for control of key domain name
#9 – Birmingham, Alabama bids for the Olympics – we think
#8 – Durban to bid for 2018 Olympics?
#7 – PyeongChang gets ready to bid for 2018 Olympic Games
#6 – Innsbruck, Austria Awarded First Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012
#5 – Singapore Awarded First Youth Olympic Games in 2010

#4 – Doha gets shut out of Olympic Bid

Seven cities submitted applications to bid for the 2016 Olympic Games, and on July 4 of this year the IOC announced that four cities had qualified and would continue to bid for the Games. The decision on what cities qualify is based on a technical analysis of the application questionnaire and a recommendation from the Executive Committee.

However this time the IOC overlooked the raw scores from the technical evaluation and instead decided to exclude the city of Doha, Qatar in favour of technically inferior Rio de Janeiro. The reason? Doha had planned to host the Games in October – outside of the IOC’s desired window that closes in the August/September timeframe. Once the Games continue past September they compete for a U.S. television audience with baseball playoffs, football, and other sporting events. If Doha were to hold the Games in August, the unforgiving summer heat would impair the athletes’ abilities.

Doha found itself in a no-win situation; simply put – its climate wasn’t compatible with the Olympic movement. If this really is the case, then several other equatorial and Southern Hemisphere countries could face the same challenges in the future. Doha accused the IOC of “closing the door” on them.

But Doha hasn’t given up – they have planned to bid again for 2020.

#3 – Beijing’s Mega-Games Leaves Olympic Bids at a Loss

As promised, Beijing hosted an Olympics like none other before. Extravagant ceremonies; unbeatable venues and facilities – China spared nothing. However, it left 2016 bid cities shaking their heads – all agreeing that the Beijing precedent could never be matched by them or other cities in the future.

In fact, some cities have even lost hope that they could ever host such a huge event. The Mayor of Copenhagen dropped all plans of bidding for a future Olympics after visiting Beijing and commenting on its success.

As a result, it seems bid cities will have to discover a new ways to make the Games unforgettable but on a smaller scale.

Tomorrow we count down #2 and #1.

About Robert Livingstone

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.