Cities which petition the International Olympic Committee for the right to host the Games may have a double task from now on: Convincing their own population that the Games are good idea. The three cities chosen by the IOC as finalists for the 2020 Games—Madrid, Istanbul, and Tokyo—are facing an unprecedented wave of internal opposition from concerned citizens. In Istanbul, the “No To Olympics” platform summarizes its position thusly: “We know about the Olympics from the cities that hosted them with pride and excitement and afterwards were left with destroyed neighborhoods, heavy debts, displaced millions and facilities left to rot.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Madrid and Tokyo face similar opposition from their own citizens, concerned about the financial cost of the Games and the social cost of development meant to bring in tourist dollars at an expense to the native population that does not balance. Tokyo, for example, spent more than $200 million on its losing bid for the 2016 Olympic Games, which critics say were returned to the people in the form of taxes. Madrid residents cite the recent example of Barcelona which, after hosting the Games in 1992, saw a real-estate boom displace native residents and throw the city into debt.