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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
Hosting the Olympics is an honor that comes along with expensive construction, underused infrastructure, and local controversy in many cities. Although an Olympic Island could become a multinational experiment in sustainable city planning, powerful stakeholders in the current system have too much to lose to let it become a reality.
Instead of investing billions of dollars in new Olympic host cities every four years, Short suggests it would be cheaper and easier to create a sort of Olympics island that can play host to the more expensive Summer Games, at a minimum, year after year. The IOC could essentially take over an island – maybe a Greek island, Short suggests – and turn it into a permanent venue. It would function more or less like an international city-state, overseen by the United Nations, dedicated to hosting the Olympics and its training in perpetuity.
Short argues Olympics Island could be an ongoing experiment in sustainability and architecture, with facilities upgraded and new ideas tested, and with far fewer of the social or environmental costs than in existing cities.