Flemish Olympic hopes dashed

7th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 July 2005, BRUSSELS — The Flemish government's hopes of staging the Olympics in 2016 were dealt a fatal blow on Wednesday when London was awarded the 2012 Games.

7 July 2005

BRUSSELS — The Flemish government's hopes of staging the Olympics in 2016 were dealt a fatal blow on Wednesday when London was awarded the 2012 Games.

The biggest loser was of course the great favourite Paris — which has now missed out on staging the Games three times in recent history — but Flanders was also a loser.

The reason is practical: it is almost 100 percent certain the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will not award the Games to another European city immediately after the London Olympics.

And Flemish Sport Minister Bert Anciaux cast further doubt on Flanders' hopes, saying on Wednesday that organising the Olympics would be no easy task.

Despite the fact the Flemish government is officially investigating the possibility of staging the Games in 2016, Anciaux was adamant: "Too expensive and not realistic enough".

He said if the Games ever came to Flanders, the earliest date would be 2020 or 2024, newspaper 'De Morgen' reported.

Even then, the Socialist (Spirit) minister was wary of the task: "We must first better develop our top-sport policy. The Games are the cherry on the cake, but first there needs to be cake," Anciaux said.

The idea of Flanders staging the Olympics originated with Liberal (VLD) chairman Bart Somers, who wanted to make a name of himself in the autumn of 2003 while serving as Flemish prime minister. 

After the initial jeering, the idea never really left the political agenda. The Flemish government accord clearly states that the government will examine the proposal.

And sources around Somers said on Wednesday the Games would be an "enormous opportunity" and that a united effort would bring success.

"But daring is necessary and that is possibly too un-Flemish. You feel that the opinion of the Flemish public is not behind the idea," one source said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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