Olympian aspirations of sporting metropolis

AFP
Shanghai aspires to the same sporting status as Olympic hosts Tokyo and Paris, and staging a Games would be "the highest ideal," a top city official said yesterday.
AFP

Shanghai aspires to the same sporting status as Olympic hosts Tokyo and Paris, and staging a Games would be “the highest ideal,” a top city official said yesterday.

While stopping short of committing to an Olympic bid, Shanghai’s deputy director general of sports told reporters that officials in the city would be taking a keen interest in how Tokyo and Paris fare with the Summer Games in 2020 and 2024.

“It’s not the first time these cities have held the Olympic Games. They have a lot of excellent experience in hosting,” Luo Wenhua, of Shanghai sports administration, said in a rare interview with international media.

“I think the next step may be to strengthen communication and let us learn from them.”

Shanghai already hosts several major annual sporting events including a Formula One race, men’s and women’s golf, Diamond League athletics and the Shanghai Masters tennis, which is just one rung below Grand Slams and the ATP Finals.

In total, Shanghai stages about 160 sports events per year, Luo said.

It is part of a push by the city to make Shanghai a “globally famous” sporting metropolis by 2025.

Luo name-checked Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles, London and New York as cities to he would like to emulate.

Of those, only New York has never hosted an Olympics and, after the success of Beijing 2008, it seems almost inevitable that Shanghai will one day bid. The next available Summer Games slot is 2032.

“For myself as a sportsman, and for every athlete, participating in the Olympics is the ultimate goal,” said Luo, a former pole vaulter, but stressed that any decision to make a bid would down to China’s central government.

“The Olympics would be the highest ideal and a dream,” he said.


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