In the litany of farcical news this morning, Brisbane’s imminent “victory” in “almost” winning the right to host the 2032 Olympics — against no other competitors — must get the gold.
And that’s no mean feat given the other main news story contender is another tycoon’s joyride for a few minutes in space while the world below goes to hell in an Amazon-inspired handbasket.
The billionaire space race is only marginally less offensive than the one being conducted on Earth by sport’s odious cartel the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
At 6.30 tonight fireworks will light up the Queensland capital as it erupts into euphoria at the announcement that it will be the “preferred” bidder for the Olympics after the one after the next one. There are so many layers of ludicrousness in that story it is difficult to know where to start — though I did warn of many of them back in April when I thought the whole Brisbane for ’32 was just a bad joke.
Let’s start with the first and most crucial point: that Brisbane will get the nod because there is no other city bidding for the poisoned chalice that the term “host city” has become.
If you have any doubt, read Let the Games … Be Gone in last Sunday’s New York Times, which asked: “After bidding scandals, human rights outrages, overburdened host cities, rampant cheating, a pandemic — and, sure, thrilling competitions — has the world had enough of the Olympics?”
Well, not BrisVegas apparently.
It makes you wonder why the IOC is going through the charade of pretending there might be a better offer. Surely the committee’s standover men should be forcing the Queensland premier’s signature on the watertight contract while she’s giddy in Tokyo?
And when I say the IOC is going through a charade I should clarify I mean the future one of the 2032 Games, not the current absolute debacle of the delayed 2020 Tokyo Games about to be played out at enormous human cost, not to mention financial cost of some $30 billion.
So let’s not even start on the economic modelling for the Brisbane Games released this week, once again reiterating the fallacy that they will only cost about $5 billion. The guesstimate masquerading as some official document looked like it had been made up over lunch and scribbled on the back of a beer coaster.
Incredibly, the IOC’s breathtaking contempt for the entire world during a global pandemic is probably rivalled this morning by the news that the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, had fulfilled his 20-year dream to build a rocket and become a space cadet for a few minutes.
When he came back to earth he managed to offend nearly everyone on the planet even further: “I also want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this.”
Bezos is the second billionaire to head into orbit in recent weeks after being beaten by Richard Branson. However, it has been noted, repeatedly, that the Virgin founder might have been first in that race but he didn’t get quite as far into the stratosphere as the Amazon founder, who went 21 metres higher.
Length matters to these guys. Might be why Elon Musk is holding off for Mars.
Makes you have sympathy with the tweeter who pondered recently whether “trickle-down economics means three billionaires exploding on re-entry from space?”.
Clearly Perrett isn’t impressed, but how do you feel about Brisbane hosting the 2032 Olympic Games? Write to [email protected] and include your full name to be considered for publication in Crikey’s Your Say section.