If someone were to randomly ask me which continent has never hosted the Olympics, my knee jerk reaction would be to chuckle and say, “Antarctica.” I mean duh… It’s too cold for people to live there, that has to be the answer right? Umm… Hell to the naw. Africa is the only inhabitable continent on the earth to have never hosted the Olympics.
*Side note – The image above is not Toronto, Seattle, or Munich… It’s Johannesburg, South Africa*
The very first Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece in 1896 (yea you may laugh, ’cause ya did not do your math), yep that’s 120 years. Here’s a list of how many times each continent has hosted the Summer Olympiad (excluding Winter Games) :
- North America – 6
- South America – 1 (This year)
- Europe – 19
- Asia, including Oceania – 5
- Africa – 0
Reports name South Africa as the only African country with the infrastructure and resources necessary to host such a monumental event. Those same reports highlight “Major weaknesses” that would prevent South Africa’s selection including the country’s “High crime rate.” You may have read the article I wrote about the “Ugly Underbelly of Rio.” I’d be interested to see how crime rate played a role in Rio winning the 2016 bid. Or if Chicago’s crime rate was even considered when the American city almost won the 2012 Olympic Games bid.
Three African countries have launched serious bids for the Games: Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa. Cape Town in South Africa was on the candidate city short list for the 2004 Olympics. Given South Africa’s success with the World Cup, there is growing optimism of its prospects of hosting the Games in the near future.
We know that almost every institution in the world has operated with some sort of bias against people of brown and black skin, so I hope the Olympic Committee plans on diversifying the way it makes the final selection for the host city. The African diaspora has arguably contributed more athletic legends to the Olympic Games than any other continent on the planet, so it’s only fair that the Motherland get an equal opportunity at hosting the games.