What if … Worcester: Dateline 2076 — City hosts Olympic games as new format spreads benefits, burdens around the globe
Editor’s note: Today Worcester Sun is proud to introduce our newest contributor and series. B.J. Hill is a talented, Worcester-based creative writer and journalist with an eye toward the future. In What if … Worcester, he combines all of those things into one fascinating, imaginative and often reality-based package that opens a window into the coming decades and centuries in and around the City of Seven Hills.
FRIDAY, AUG. 7, 2076 – During the Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies this evening, the city of Worcester will open its arms to the world — sort of.
Debuting a new cost-cutting Olympic format, Worcester, the host city, will hold the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony and just a handful of events. The remaining events will be held by other cities around the world.
Impelling the change was the harsh truth that eight out of the last 10 Olympics were net losses for their host cities. After the most recent Brazzaville/Kinshasa Olympics, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo briefly went to war over an unpaid $6.7 billion tab. The last Games to indisputably net a profit for the host country were the 2020 Olympics in Old Tokyo.
In previous Games, all-new venues, hotels and public transportation had to be constructed, as mandated by the once-powerful International Olympic Committee. But after years of financial loss, charges of corruption and general antipathy, the host cities now have an upper hand in negotiations, and they’re finding it in their best interest to share risk and profits with other modestly sized cities.
“The days of mega-scale Olympics are over,” announced Worcester City Planner Mary Diang at a press conference earlier this week. “Worcester is pioneering the new era of the Games. This new, smaller, multi-city format led us to work closely with municipalities and organizations around the world to provide the best experience; our teamwork and cooperation fit perfectly with the Olympic spirit.”