South Africa turns attention to the Olympics

South Africa is basking in the glory of successfully staging the first World Cup on African soil but the country's thoughts have already shifted to another top sports event - the Olympic Games.

With rumours spreading fast that the coastal city of Durban is seriously considering bidding for the 2020 summer Olympics, South Africa may be gearing up for a battle that is much harder to win than the right to stage a World Cup.



The Olympics are the biggest multi-sports event in the world and while the World Cup may test a country's operational strength with several cities involved in the staging of the matches, the Olympics, held in one city alone, can sap its energy and drain its financial resources.



It is the equivalent of staging 28 world championships with the top athletes of each sport, simultaneously, within just a few miles of each other.



"The World Cup is one of the two great sporting events in the world along with the Olympics, and I am quite certain that every member of the International Olympic Committee has been looking at the matches from South Africa and seen the enthusiasm and the excitement," IOC Executive Board member Craig Reedie told Reuters.



"I would suspect they would not be surprised at all if a bid came from the South African Olympic Committee for a future Games, be it 2020 or 2024... I think the decision to go south of the equator for the first time would be a natural encouragement for South Africa," he said.





It is not only the IOC that is expecting South Africa to bid for the summer Olympics.



South Africa President Jacob Zuma told Reuters at the start of the World Cup in June the tournament had whetted the country's appetite for major sports events.



"We have got the facilities. Those who take decisions have seen how South Africa is. I'm sure we could do it," Zuma said.



"I will put it on the agenda because it is important to bring people from all over the world here."



Cape Town was the first South African city to bid for the Olympics but was trounced in the vote for the 2004 Games which were awarded to Athens.



Durban, which markets itself as Africa's sports capital, has expressed an interest in hosting the Games and built its new World Cup stadium with enough space to add an athletics track.



But the problems of a South African city's bid for 2020 should not be underestimated.





Brazil's Rio de Janeiro became the first South American city to be awarded the Games for 2016. It is doubtful the IOC would go to another new continent, with all the risks that come with it, immediately after those Games.



The United States, the IOC's biggest revenue territory, could launch another bid after failing to bring the 2016 Games to Chicago. The last North American city to host the summer Olympics was Atlanta in 1996.



Europe has also increased its chances to see the Games return to its turf after Rio with the time zone on the continent more preferable to major European broadcasters.



South African sports officials will be able to test the waters of such a potential bid when the IOC meets in Durban next year to elect the hosts for the 2018 Winter Olympics.



The momentum, however, for a South African bid is clearly there, with even IOC President Jacques Rogge offering some veiled encouragement.



"I would love to have a credible African candidate for the next Games to be chosen, namely those of 2020," he said recently.



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before