Dubai Olympics in 2024?

Our columnist Tom Bushell ponders how the city would host the Games

So Queen Elizabeth apparently jumped out of a helicopter for the opening of the 2012 London Olympics. I wonder how Dubai will beat that in 2024 – if the city’s Olympic bid is successful, of course. It was announced last week that Dubai will bid for the 2024 event, and it has every chance of becoming the first Middle Eastern city to stage the Games.

In fact, Dubai was putting a bid together for the 2020 Games, before pulling out to prepare a better bid for ’24. The bidding process begins in 2015, with a decision made in 2017. Interestingly, Doha looks set to bid too. The Olympics have never been held in this part of the world, so you’d think that either Dubai or Doha would be favorites.

If it does come down to a battle between the two cities, which has the upper hand? Doha will have just held the football World Cup, so the infrastructure will be there, but Dubai can offer iconic Olympic settings, much like London. Beach volleyball in front of the Burj Al Arab, for instance… Staging the Olympics would give Dubai the push to finish projects that are currently on hold, such as Sports City, and if the International Olympic Committee could see that the Games would have a lasting effect, Dubai will be hard to beat. The World Islands could house the Olympic Village, with each nation staying on their own island. Yet one country that may not be represented is India, which was recently banned by the IOC because of corruption allegations among India’s Olympic Committee. Hopefully that will all be sorted out before 2024.

As proven in London, cycling is often one of the biggest elements of an Olympic Games. Dubai’s cycling scene is growing all the time and, with a new home at Nad al Sheba, dedicated cyclists can take advantage of the facilities. The recent Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge persuaded more than 1,000 people to cycle a route across Dubai, and the hope is that soon our city will be a cycling capital. That’s what Dubai Sports Council wants – and as the council strives to create a more active city, don’t be surprised to see more cycling events and initiatives start to happen.
Tom Bushell hosts Sport On 7 on City 7 TV (Mon 8pm) and is Arabian Radio Network’s head of sport.

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