History is indeed written by the winners and sometimes the losers themselves forget.
Most people remember that the 2000 Olympics were in Sydney, the 2004 in Athens and know that the 2008 are currently being held in Beijing. (Most not including me as I actually had to google the 2004 Olympics to verify they were in Greece) but do you remember which other cities bid for these specific games and lost?
Not a clue right?
Well in general me neither except that I do remember that Toronto made an unsuccessful bid for the 2008 games.
Yep it was big news back in those heady days of 2001. Toronto, world class city that we claim to be needs to do more to publicize our greatness and we need to bring the Olympics here said one camp. The games will put us on the map! There was hype, there was excitement, there were waterfront plans and plans for building a new Olympic stadium. There were slogans, there were celebrity endorsements, there were even t-shirts from Roots.
Meanwhile another camp took a different perspective. This Olympics thing is a real waste of time they said. Sure it will or could be an amazing spectacle but at the end of the day events like the Olympics and other major sporting spectacles (read Cricket World Cup) lose money for the host city and then its the poor taxpayers who live there that feel the pinch. Toronto already isn't the richest city so why put ourselves into further poverty to show off to the world for two or three weeks.
But the bid went off with much pizazz and fanfare.
And at the end of the day in 2001 when the votes were counted to choose the 2008 venue we lost. Soundly beaten by Beijing.
Some say it was because Vancouver got awarded the 2010 winter games and the IOC didn't want back to back games in Canada, some blamed Toronto mayor Mel Lastman and his idiotic "I'm not going to Africa because they might put me in a pot of boiling water and eat me" comments, (as if people in Africa so hungry they want dry up, tough meat like he to eat. chupse!) for losing us votes, others just accepted that the Beijing bid was just too strong and we couldn't compete with the overall politics of holding the event in an emerging superpower China.
To be honest most locals were probably a bit let down by the loss, it would have been fun holding the event here, but at the same time we all had mixed feelings because some of us might have wanted the spectacle but all of us sure as hell didn't want to have to pay for it out of our pockets.
Still when I see the Olympics on television this week I cant help thinking what if, what could have been and wondering do Torontonians actually remember that this could have been us?
Oh well, wasnt to be. We weren't the winners but maybe in hindsight we weren't exactly losers either. Still sucks that we've been forgotten by history though.