It might come as a surprise to know that South Africa has never held an Olympic Games. In fact, the entire African continent has never played host to the Olympics.
In South Africa’s case, the country of over 58 million would provide an excellent home.
This article looks at the reasons why many in the country and all over the world are pushing forward for a competition to be held there.
The last Summer Olympic games held in 2016 in Brazil saw South Africa record a string of excellent results including two gold medals in the Men’s 400m and Women’s 800m. Six silver medals and two bronze medals were also recorded.
Star performers Caster Semenya and Wayde Van Niekerk certainly raised the profile of South African athletics and overall Olympic ability.
The Experience of the World Cup
There are several key points to consider from South Africa’s hosting of the football World Cup in 2010.
Firstly, the tournament was deemed a great success by many. The staging of 64 matches across 10 stadiums in 9 cities attracted over 3 million spectators.
The global television figures of 3.2 billion attest to how massive the World Cup really is. The fact that South Africa held it successfully was a welcome boost to the country’s reputation.
Anyone looking to South Africa’s chances at winning next World Cup through online sport betting will see that the chances are looking rather slim, however people still remember the phenomenal world cup that was hosted there.
Another important point is how much of the groundwork put down by the World Cup has been improved on in the last decade. Many of the developments laid out for the competition such as rail and transport interchanges and superior stadiums have continued to develop.
The nation’s economy experienced a sizable lift, with the financial success bolstering confidence in making a bid for the hosting of the Olympic Games.
The Potential Benefits of Hosting the Olympics
A big test for the suitability of South Africa in being an Olympic host nation will come with the hosting of the Youth Olympic Games in 2022.
The much smaller, but still prestigious, competition will provide an excellent showcase for South Africa’s ability to organise its resources and planning.
The global showcase of hosting the Youth Games could pave the way towards the even greater benefits of eventually hosting the summer Olympics.
If that were to happen, South Africa could benefit in a variety of ways.
During the World Cup, South Africa saw its gross domestic product rise by 0.93%. This certainly outweighs the cost of securing the tournament and building all the required infrastructure.
There is good reason to believe that a similar story could be achieved with hosting the Olympic Games. Indeed, it has clearly been on South Africa’s collective mind ever since the culmination of the 2010 World Cup.
The country made a bid for the Olympics back then hoping that the excellent response to the competition would enhance its chances.
In the last decade, the arguments for South Africa being an excellent host nation have grown even stronger.
South Africa – the Ideal Candidate?
There is a strong case for South Africa hosting the Olympics. As well as the football World Cup previously discussed, the country has also hosted the Cricket World Cup in 2003 and the Rugby World Cup in 1995.
An important part of selecting Olympic hosts by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is taking into account the greater worldwide benefits. The chance to change perceptions of Africa through a global event such as the Olympic Games is a positive motivation to address.
The fact is that South Africa is the best placed African nation to play host on the continent to such a massive undertaking. As previously shown, South Africa has the requirements and framework already in place and is adding to this all the time.
South Africa is the continent’s biggest and most developed economy. Everything needed to hold the first African Olympics is either already in place, or could be planned for.
Some commenters counter this by saying that hosting an Olympics comes at a significant cost. They point to the 2004 Athens Games which saw expensive venues remaining unused for years after the event.
Many also recall the financial woes of Montreal, which took 30 years paying off debts incurred by the 1976 Olympics.
Supporters of a bid argue that the financial profits will be greater than the outgoings, offering the success of the London 2012 Olympics as a solid example. That competition added 9.9 billion GBP to the United Kingdom’s economy, as opposed to the 8.9 billion cost of hosting.
Barcelona also witnessed a strong boost to its tourism sector following its hosting of the 1992 games. As well as being remembered as one of the best games ever, the competition played a huge role in promoting the global image of the city.
There is every reason to believe that this could also be the experience of South Africa following a successful hosting of a future Olympics. With so much at stake, many and hoping and believe that they will have their chance soon.