Could Oz host Olympics again? Do we even want to?
IN light of the recently finished Winter Olympics, I was having a beer and a chat about the cost and value of major events and frankly whether they were worth it.
I am an unabashed fan of mega sporting jamborees and generally feel that the arm-long list of pros outweighs the arm-long list of cons.
But the exchange did set me wondering whether Australia would ever countenance another tilt at an Olympic Games or indeed a World Cup. Ever.
Sure, in the next couple of decades our chances are at best remote given the recency of Sydney 2000 and even Melbourne in 1956.
Even in Oslo, seen as a leading contender for 2022, polling has indicated 50% of the population opposes a bid
Well unless Clive Palmer mounts an audacious campaign for his faltering, dinosaur laden Coolum resort!
But would we as the Australian public still have an appetite for them?
Even the bids nowadays cost eye-watering amounts and increasingly Government funding in sport (and just about everything else) is under the microscope.
Questions are already being asked about the return on investment in Sochi as indeed they were in London.
Sochi saw the cost of each medal estimated at around $6.7 million - yep with a paltry three non-gold Australian medallions and a bill of $20 million (about half funded through taxpayers) each medal came at a huge cost.
Top ten finishes have improved from 7 to 10 since Vancouver in 2010 but we are an impatient bunch and all the talk from administrators about improved performance will cut little ice with a public that craves success.
But argue about it we will and a lazy $20m is a drop in the ocean compared to putting together a bid for the whole shebang!
It's unlikely that future events will cost anywhere near the mooted US$51 billion bill for Sochi.
This iteration was unique in that it was the personal vision of Vladimir Putin who simply wanted to totally redefine the Black Sea resort town.
In total, this single event cost more than all previous Winter Games combined!
Even in Oslo, seen as a leading contender for 2022, polling has indicated 50% of the population opposes a bid.
So would we do it again?
The neigh sayers will point to the Rudd Government and the $50-odd million bankrolling of a doomed shot at a FIFA World Cup as all the evidence needed.
The ardent fans will point to Sydney 2000, to RWC 2003 and to a rich tradition of sporting passion that translates into well run events that put the country on the map.
It would be a sad old world if we needed the member for Fairfax to kick the can, but then again Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.