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Have the bribes that IOC officials demand become to onerous?
Age: Minus eight.
Appearance: Seriously, it’s anyone’s guess.
Really? But surely at this point a fleet of potential host cities are putting their finest talents to work on a series of dazzling bids. Yeah, about that.
What? The competition’s too close to call? A runaway leader has already emerged? No. It’s more that, well, what can I say, nobody wants to host it.
Expand, please. Well, Krakow was one of the original finalists to host the event, but this week it officially withdrew its bid after 70% of the city came out against the idea in a referendum.
Fine, so it won’t be in Krakow. It won’t be in Stockholm either, because it dropped out in January. Or Munich, which dropped out in November. Or the Swiss towns of Davos and St Moritz, which dropped out last year. And probably not Oslo, because it turns out that nobody wants it there either.
Why on Earth not? It’s still a prestigious event, isn’t it? Kind of. It’s also blisteringly expensive to put together, doesn’t improve infrastructure as much as anybody claims and will almost certainly leave a wonky legacy of deserted ski-jumps and bobsleigh tracks littered around the host city.
But the prestige! Remember Sochi? Remember the hundreds of journalists tweeting about how rubbish all of Sochi’s hotels were? That was the worst Tripadvisor review ever. Who would want to invite that sort of attention?
So the whole thing is dead in the water? Well, the city of Lviv hasn’t officially withdrawn yet.
Great! Where’s that? Western Ukraine.
Yeesh. Look, it’s not all bad news. Two bids still have quite a lot of potential: Beijing, and the Kazakhstan city of Almaty.
Brilliant. I love China and Kazakhstan. Well, you have to hand it to them – what they lack in basic democracy and human rights records, they sure make up for in being the only two places in the entire world that actually want to host the Winter Olympics.
Do say: “Perhaps hosting the Olympics isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be”.
Don’t say: “But the host city might get a pointless and unused cable car that doesn’t really go anywhere out of it, just like we did in 2012.”
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk