Hosting the Olympic Games is a prestigious honor that cities around the world compete for with the ferocity of world-class athletes. Just as with the sporting events they hope to celebrate, there can only be one winner, but when it comes to choosing a host city there is no silver medal. There are, on the other hand, perennial losers.
Since the birth of the modern Games in 1896, several cities have submitted Olympic bid after Olympic bid, only to see their dreams of glory continuously dashed. Detroit alone has been rejected by the International Olympic Committee a whopping seven times.
We here at ShermansTravel headquarters are still mourning the loss of the 2012 Games for our hometown, New York City, so we understand these cities' frustrations and know these cities are more than just also-rans.
Be sure to check out the full list of snubbed Olympic cities on ShermansTravel.com.
Attempts: 1944, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972 Olympic Connection: You can’t blame Detroit for giving up its quest to host the Games after finishing second in the voting in 1964, 1968, and 1972. Detroit has produced many Olympic champions, including sprinter Eddie Tolan, who, in 1932, became the first African American to earn two gold medals. Get Your Sports Fix: The 2012 London Games mark the first time that baseball is not an official Olympic sport since the 1988 Games in Seoul. However, baseball is the summer game of Detroit, and the Tigers play in Comerica Park, a gorgeous stadium that joined the city’s downtown in 2000. Ford Field hosted the Super Bowl in 2006 and is the home of the Lions. Both stadiums offer guided tours to the public. Photo: Vito Palmisano
Attempts: 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2020 Olympic Connection: Every July since 1989, Istanbul has hosted the Bosphorus Cross-Continental 4-mile swimming and kayaking races, which is overseen by the International Olympic Committee and the National Olympic Committee of Turkey. An adopted Istanbulite, Ramazan Sahin – who won Turkey’s only gold medal in Beijing, for free-style wrestling – will return to defend his title in London. Get Your Sports Fix: Built for the failed 2008 Olympics bid, Ataturk Olympic Stadium – Turkey’s largest sports venue – will undergo an overhaul starting in January 2013 in preparation for the 2020 bid. While it’s closed, you can still catch a soccer game at one of the city’s other main arenas, like the 52,650-seat Turk Telekom Arena, where the Guinness World Records awarded the “loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium” (131.76 decibels!) on March 18, 2011. Photo: Bosphorus Cross-Continental
Attempts: 1920, 1948, 1952, 1956, 2016 Olympic Connection: One of five U.S. finalists for the 2016 Games (Chicago won the U.S. bid and the Games ultimately went to Rio de Janeiro), the City of Brotherly Love is the birthplace of NBA star Kobe Bryant, who helped bring home gold in 2008 and will once again play guard for the men’s basketball team in 2012. Get Your Sports Fix: Philly’s 19th-century Boathouse Row, a collection of 15 boathouses on the east bank of the Schuylkill River, is a testament to the city’s passion for regattas and boat races (as is Glenn Ochal, the 6’5” token Philadelphian on the 2012 rowing team). View the largest collegiate regatta in the U.S., the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, held every May, from scenic Fairmount Park. Photo: R. Kennedy for GPTMC
Attempts: 1972, 2012, 2016, 2020 Olympic Connection: Madrid is a finalist for the 2020 Summer Games and hopes to step out of the shadow of Barcelona’s Olympic rings (the Catalonian city hosted the Summer Games in 1992). The majority of the venues needed for Madrid’s 2020 bid already exist, with plans to hold cycling trials in the city streets, sailing in the Port of Valencia, and tennis in the Caja Mágica. Get Your Sports Fix: Head to Estadio Santiago Bernabéu to catch a Real Madrid soccer match. It has hosted sporting events since 1947 and can seat more than 85,000 spectators. If basketball is more your speed, make your way to Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid to watch the Real Madrid basketball club that was last season’s runner-up in the Spanish league. Photo: Real Madrid
Attempts: 1920, 2008, 2012 Olympic Connection: Lázaro Alvarez, 21, is one of eight Cuban Olympic boxers competing at the London Games. He became the youngest boxer to win gold at the 2011 World Championships and is a gold medal contender this year for the bantamweight category. Get Your Sports Fix: Cuba ranks second only to the United States for total number of Olympic medals in boxing. Havana visitors can watch amateur matches at Gimnasio de Boxeo Rafael Trejo (Calle Cuba #815, Habana Vieja, tel. 011-53-7-862-0266), an open air training center responsible for Olympic greats like Mario Kindelán. Photo: Flickr/awallin
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