Given the rise of new technologies, modernization, and the shortening of distances linked to the growth of high-speed travel. Also, considering the fact that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in recent years has seen a crisis in the candidacies to host the Olympics, perhaps, putting forward the candidacy of a whole country or a number of countries to host the international sports event, and not just one single city, now no longer seems unthinkable.
The idea comes from the youngsters who in the spring attended the Sports Course of Temple University, Rome, which is the Italian campus of the university based in Philadelphia. Therefore, in this year for the first time, it offered its students a course on the various developments in sport in Italy. Italy is a country which has always been considered a cornerstone of international sport.
What the students propose is a fresh and innovative idea, linked to the modernity of the times we are living through, and to the need which also the sports world feels to innovate and renew itself, to grow together with new technologies, and act as a real instrument to bring people together.
And what better way than to make the international and interdisciplinary sports event par excellence, the Olympics, the center of the modernization of the international sports system?
Moreover, it would be sufficient to follow the direction which is also being taken in football, where we are now seeing FIFA assess, among the various offers to host the 2026 World Cup, even the shared candidacy of Mexico, the USA, and Canada. So, if football is continually reinventing itself, why shouldn’t the Olympic Games do the same?
In fact, it is now clear to everyone: hosting a significant event such as the Olympics or the Football World Cup itself, is no longer just an honor, but also a heavy burden (think what happened for the Rio Olympics). And that is why many cities – such as Rome itself, host to one of the Olympics that went down in history – no longer feel able to face this economic challenge on their own.
And so, as part of their project, the students from Temple University wanted to pay particular attention to the economic problems which an event such as the Olympics can bring for the host.
Among the main problems addressed was that linked to the dispersion and waste of sporting structures used (and sometimes unused) for the event, which once the Games are over are largely left abandoned. Most cities are in fact, not equipped to host an event of this size when they put forward their candidacy. In just a few years, it is necessary to realize numerous new structures to be able to host all the sports and manage the flow of tourists, structures which, once the Games are over, often remain unused.
The problem would significantly be solved by the idea of shared candidacies as proposed by the Temple students who stated that if each candidate city hosted the sports for which it is best equipped, it would not be necessary to create too many entirely new structures. But on the contrary, it might be possible to take the opportunity to renew existing structures which are already in use outside of the “Olympics,” and so, prudently focus on building just a few new structures which in the design stage already envisage a future use.
The same would take place for the Olympic Villages, three in each project (one for each main candidate city). The proposal would be to use the structures which are used as Olympic Villages during the Games to subsequently become real Universities which are a meeting point for Western, Asian, and African cultures, in the name of that equality which underpins this wonderful idea. Alternatively, reuse them to provide accommodation for the neediest, thus, transforming them into emergency housing.
Instead for the “problem” linked to the costs incurred to renew and build the new infrastructure, it is necessary to start from the premise that every cent spent on urban improvement which benefits the population, must be considered as money well spent.
If we think of Rome ’60, and the infrastructure it brought, and which is still today essential in the lives of Roman citizens. Perhaps, we would no longer view the expense envisaged for this noble end as a waste, but rather as an opportunity to be taken for all citizens: viaducts, bridges, restoration projects and new structures, are just some of the advantages which host cities bring their population, and which remain available to them after the end of the Games.
The signal from the New Continent is clear: with the advent of new technologies and the reduction in distances; we must finally feel that we are all a little closer. And this closeness must be tangible and underpin a real sense of belonging of all cultures to one people.
For this reason, there are two proposals for candidacies. The first, all Italian, envisages a candidacy shared by three of the most important historical cities in Italy, Rome, Florence, and Venice. While the second is shared instead between three important European centers, London, Paris, and Turin. Both projects pay particular attention to the tourism-cultural element, proposing some of the most important art cities in Europe as the theatre for the Olympic Games.
A proposal of this type is, therefore, a wonderful symbol of equality and collaboration in something positive. This is a way to contribute to a common cause. An idea, perhaps a dream, but a wonderful dream in which, who knows, in the future could even become a reality.