Kudos go out this week to Norway for blowing off the bloated, corrupt, egotistical and generally shambolic International Olympic Committee. Until now, Norway had been courting the IOC to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Oslo, which made it onto the short list in July alongside Beijing and Almaty. But now, according to the FT, Norway has withdrawn its name from consideration, disgusted with demands the IOC would make of the country if it won the bid. Slate has the rundown of some of the worst requirements:
- They demand to meet the king prior to the opening ceremony. Afterwards, there shall be a cocktail reception. Drinks shall be paid for by the Royal Palace or the local organizing committee.
- Separate lanes should be created on all roads where IOC members will travel, which are not to be used by regular people or public transportation.
- A welcome greeting from the local Olympic boss and the hotel manager should be presented in IOC members’ rooms, along with fruit and cakes of the season. (Seasonal fruit in Oslo in February is a challenge …)
- The hotel bar at their hotel should extend its hours “extra late” and the minibars must stock Coke products.
- The IOC president shall be welcomed ceremoniously on the runway when he arrives.
- The IOC members should have separate entrances and exits to and from the airport.
- During the opening and closing ceremonies a fully stocked bar shall be available. During competition days, wine and beer will do at the stadium lounge.
- IOC members shall be greeted with a smile when arriving at their hotel.
- Meeting rooms shall be kept at exactly 20 degrees Celsius at all times.
- The hot food offered in the lounges at venues should be replaced at regular intervals, as IOC members might “risk” having to eat several meals at the same lounge during the Olympics.
Norway was already facing a popular backlash against the cost of hosting the Games, and the IOC demands were the last straw. One Norway pundit, quite rightly, called the IOC a “inflated, ridiculous, otherworldly, expensive, unsympathetic meeting.” In response, the IOC got huffy:
This is a missed opportunity for the City of Oslo and for all the people of Norway who are known world-wide for being huge fans of winter sports. And it is mostly a missed opportunity for the outstanding Norwegian athletes who will not be able to reach new Olympic heights in their home country.
Like FIFA, the IOC today is a horrible example of the corruption and self-dealing that is all too common in international institutions dominated by cronyism and poor governance structures. A thorough house-cleaning is what the movement really needs. In the meantime, let’s hope Norway’s example of honor and decency spreads. When the judges are this bad, it can be a shame to come in first.