Hungarian Games? Budapest will test drive for more frugal Olympics
By Marton Dunai
BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary is plying Olympic authorities with visions of a 2024 games played out from the elegant Danubian capital Budapest to the shores of Lake Balaton, eschewing the extravagance of recent years in a turn to a more modest global sporting celebration.
Hungary is wagering its offer of a more frugal summer games than those that might be offered by richer rivals Los Angeles, Paris and Rome will better reflect the spirit of the International Olympic Committee's Agenda 2020 - a new policy seeking a return to simpler values and smaller price tags.
A return to more modest, functional facilities, less lavish ceremonies, could break the hold of bigger cities like, this year, Rio De Janeiro, which with its economic and political troubles has highlighted the hazards of hosting.
"The IOC returns to its roots," said Balazs Furjes, the Hungarian government's commissioner for the Games. "Antwerp, Stockholm, or Helsinki once hosted very successful Olympics; each is smaller than Budapest. The IOC wants to make that possible again."
The 2024 Games will be the first time that principle is put into practice, and the IOC hopes 11-digit price tags for facilities that would go largely unused after the Games will become a thing of the past.
"There have been maybe twenty cities around the world that had a chance to host the Games, and they rotated," Hungarian Olympic Committee Chairman Zsolt Borkai told Reuters.
"At last smaller cities have a shot now."
Hungary is not without its own problems. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been criticized by EU allies for moves to reshape the judiciary and tighten control on media as well as his hard line on migrants. Continued...