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Nobody can afford to host the Olympics but at the IOC the largesse never stops | Andy Bull

Potential host cities are dwindling to an embarrassing low and yet the International Olympic Committee seems to still be living in the era when money is no object

Lord but the IOC makes it hard to love the Olympics, and this last month has been especially punishing for all us unlucky suckers who still do. It has just held its 133rd session in Buenos Aires, where it launched a project called the New Norm. Which would be a good name for another Cheers spin-off sitcom but is, sadly, “a set of 118 reforms that reimagines how the Olympics are presented”. The International Olympic Committee says these changes will save Olympic cities as much as $1bn in hosting costs during the summer games, and around half that amount for the winter version. Now it is very keen that you should hear all about it.

Which is why their marketing firm has been busy lobbying journalists to make sure the story gets some coverage. The IOC’s last set of tax filings show that it spent just under $6m on advertising, and another $25.4m on “promoting the Olympic movement”. Which, I can testify, pays for a lot of insistent mail-outs from its PR firm. Especially, I would guess, if you happen to be a journalist working in Calgary, Alberta, where they are about to have a plebiscite on whether or not to press ahead with their bid for the Winter Olympics in 2026.

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