chapter  4
32 Pages

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and the London 2012 Summer Games

In 1974 the IOC shortlisted three locations to host the 1980 Winter Games:

Vancouver-Garibaldi; Chamonix, France; and Lake Placid, New York. But a

few months before the nal vote, the provincial government of British Columbia

refused to offer scal support for the Games, implicitly citing the archetypal

detritus of celebration capitalism: “high costs, possible environmental damage

and windfall pro ts for private developers.”1 Canadian IOC member James

Worrall was not pleased. He wrote to Sid Young, the President of the Vancouver-

Garibaldi Olympics Committee, “I was very disappointed and quite angry to

hear the announcement of the Provincial Government regarding its non-support

of the Vancouver bid for 1980. It is typically short-sighted and based on

parochial and erroneous thinking.” “However,” he noted quixotically, “I do not

wish to become involved in politics.”2 A couple of weeks later Worrall wrote to

fellow IOC member Jan Staubo, blaming “left-wing socialists” for the

government’s lack of support, and reported meeting with the mayor of Vancouver

who stood resolute in favor of the bid. “My fear,” he wrote, “is that some of our

members will be afraid of another ‘Denver’ and will automatically support

Lake Placid.”3 Yet Worrall and his allies pressed ahead, only to abandon their

bid just prior to the IOC’s nal vote in October 1974. In the end, Lake Placid

staged the Games.