Postcard from... Hamburg


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The Independent Online

Hamburg is gripped by Olympic fever. The port city’s underground trains and buses have for weeks been plastered with a blue and orange flame logo, designed to encourage citizens to show enthusiasm for a bid to hold the 2024 Games.

The Olympics are a historically loaded event in Germany. The Nazis turned the 1936 Berlin Games into an infamous propaganda show. The 1972 Munich Olympics were horribly marred by anti-Israeli terrorism. Since then there have been four failed attempts to bring the five rings back to Germany.

This time Hamburg and Berlin are vying to be declared the German bid by the Olympic Sports Association. It has said it will base its decision on polls held in the cities over the coming weeks. Hamburg so far has the edge, with polls showing 52 as opposed to 48 per cent eager to host the Games. “Hamburg must have the confidence to put itself back on the world map,” the city’s sports senator insisted.

However, the association now claims that the polls will not be the only factor in its choice. This has inevitably led to charges that the process is not as democratic as painted.

Hamburg’s choice is by no means certain. Along with Berlin, Paris and Rome are also in the Olympic race, while Boston remains the favourite.