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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea