Look, I dislike the IOC as much as the next rational person, and think the Olympics are a form of corporate imperialism, but the facts don’t preclude me from admitting my feelings: the 2008 Olympics in Beijing were a lot of fun, and I’m kinda excited for it to come back. It’ll be in 2022, when most of us will be DEAD, and it’s the Winter Olympics, which Sochi probably ruined for everybody, but, you know, whatever. Beijing is getting the Olympics!
That’s right, after months of (half-hearted) lobbying, Beijing beat Almaty, Kazakhstan in a vote that was announced this evening. It was 44-40, which is really close. The Kazakhs really wanted this! I wonder if they’ll get their bribe money back.
Prepare to see a lot of stories in the coming days about how you have to be a bit authoritarian to get the Olympics (to say nothing of want it), and about how much it’ll cost this country, etc. I’m not going to preemptively discount any of those pieces, because it’s true, the Olympics as a concept is shit, and only worse in practical terms: it can only be, after all, as not-corrupt as its most corrupt member, which means it’s really fucking corrupt. But you know what else is true? Beijing was never better than 2008 when it was under international scrutiny, and we can reasonably hope that it’ll be great again for 2022. Olympics! It’s going to be fun.