Olympics

Sports Minister Makes Unrealistic Bid To Host Olympics Now That "It's Realistic"

Sports Minister Makes Unrealistic Bid To Host Olympics Now That "It's Realistic"

Shellshock here in Dublin, as minister Shane Ross suddenly remembers that Sport is part of his brief.

Rather than commit to forming a wide-ranging, holistic and coherent plan for sport in this country, aimed towards encouraging as many people to exercise and play sport as possible, Ross instead decided to reach for the stars.

Sufficiently emboldened by the 2023 Rugby World Cup bid, Ross decided that the "sky would be the limit", and then floated the possibility of the next horizon being the Olympics.

Let's think about the Olympics, sure. Now it's a real realistic prospect if we will build up these stadiums.

The sky is the limit. I think we have the prospect of opening new channels and we should certainly be thinking that way.

The line on "building these stadiums" hints that Ross' vision is for all of Ireland to host the Games, rather than solely Dublin. The Olympics have traditionally restricted events to a single city, but given their eternal bloating (three-on-three basketball and freestyle BMX have been added to the stable for 2020, to make the games more "youthful and urban) they could well end up being a pan-nation competition, so we'll give Minister Ross a pass on that.

It just won't be across this nation. The notion of Dublin/Ireland of hosting the Olympics - using the addition of a few rugby/football stadia as the proof that it's "realistic" - is utterly mad.

We all have anecdotal evidence of proof that it wouldn't work: everyone has a rich lode of public transport nightmares from which they can easily imagine the omnishambles that even getting to an Olympics in Ireland would quickly descend to.

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But there is the obvious matter of cost: we couldn't afford it. The true costs for the Rio games have yet to be finalised, with reports in Brazil earlier this year claiming that it will ultimately cost more than $14 billion. This has proven ruinous to the city of Rio, despite the fact it represents just over half a percent of Brazil's GDP.

Even if the cost of hosting the games were to remain the same (which it won't), the Ross Games would be a fairly ludicrous 17% of GDP. That's nearly a fifth of our money, gone on a two-week long party which we'd have to clean up.

So obviously Ireland will never host the Olympic Games in their current guise. But talking about us hosting them might be the end in itself.

It's not the first time this has come up: Gay Mitchell talked in 1992 of his belief that Dublin could host the Olympics, to which Shane Ross' old friend Pat Hickey responded by saying, "we couldn’t even build the jacks".

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Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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