Every two years, the world's attention turns to the Olympic games and the city hosting them, so it behooves the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to choose a host city worthy of the Olympic ideal. Here's a look at the process the committee uses when determining the location for the five-ringed games.
The Application Process
Cities must first let the IOC know they're interested in hosting the games, which takes much more than an e-mail or text message. It requires you fill out an application and submit an application fee of $150,000 (and you thought the $8 ticket processing fee at that concert you went to last night was exorbitant). The IOC established the fee to eliminate potential host cities that aren't seriously committed to hosting the games or that aren't capable of raising the funds necessary to host the games. Once all applications are received, the IOC evaluates each applicant.
The preliminary evaluation takes approximately ten months. The committee judges each applicant city on the following.
City size. The city must prove it's capable of handling the large number of athletes, fans, tourists, and media coming to the games. There must be an adequate number of nice hotels, the necessary venues or the ability to construct new venues, a reliable mass transit system, and enough security and emergency personnel to handle extensive crowds.
Citizen "buy in." It costs millions of dollars to get a city ready to host the Olympics. In order to raise these millions of dollars, it sometimes becomes necessary for politicians to raise taxes. Most people don't like it when political leaders raise taxes. Not all citizens are thrilled about having their city inundated by outsiders. The city of Denver, granted the Olympics in 1976, eventually turned down the offer after citizens of Colorado decided they didn't want all the headaches and pollution associated with hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Media exposure. The potential host city must provide a positive media environment regarding the Olympics and the city's ability to host the games (in the real world, this is called kissing up to the boss). Public perception plays a key role in fostering a positive Olympics atmosphere and fostering cooperation between the International Olympic Committee and the preparing of the city for the actual games.
Each applicant that satisfies the committee's criteria becomes a candidate city and goes on to the next phase. Candidate cities must submit a formal bid.
Making the Choice
Each candidate city submits an in-depth report on its plans to host the games and is visited by the IOC evaluation team, which submits a report to the IOC evaluating the city's plan and progress. Unworthy candidates are eliminated from consideration. Once the finalists are determined, a vote is taken by the IOC. In order for a city to host the games it must receive a majority of the votes. If no city receives a majority, the city receiving the least amount of votes is eliminated and another round of voting begins. Before the vote takes place, host cities make a final one-hour video pitch involving speeches, videos, and celebrity endorsements.
The Winning City
The announcement of the winning city is accompanied by wild celebration by the winners and somber acceptance by the losers, but that's only the beginning. The winning city must actually get to work in preparing to host the games. The losers? They start preparing their next bid attempt.