My death wish: Olympics 2020

My death wish: Olympics 2020

My death wish: Olympics 2020

Istanbul Olympics would be a unique experience just like this stadium full of women...

No, I’m not dying. I don’t plan to die in the short run either. I want to be fresh and alive and energetic for the Istanbul Olympics. This is not my death wish but it is certainly my life wish. I wish to host the Olympics in my home town, once in a lifetime.

Here is a short personal history of mine regarding the Olympic Games:

Munich 1972 – I am just starting to be aware of the Olympic spirit. TV is very new in Turkey.

Montreal 1976 – Why do they hold the Olympics in such far away places?

Moscow 1980 – Even Moscow was far in those days.

Los Angeles 1984 – Again, why so far?

Seoul 1988 – Are you kidding me?

Barcelona 1992 – Hey, it’s closer. I have to save money to attend the Olympic Games next time. I should do this at least once in my lifetime.

Atlanta 1996 – C’mon folks, this is unfair…

Sydney 2000 – I won the silver medal at 400m hurdles. Again, are you kidding us?

Athens 2004 – Oh God, Oh God, Oh God. That was maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity. And I blew it. This could have been my last chance of seeing the games. Why didn’t I ever go to the Athens Olympics? I guess I didn’t have the money.

Beijing 2008 – Yeah, right, nice choice. Again.

London 2012 – What held me back this time and made me a prisoner of the TV? I think it was because it was a repetition. Nothing new. London is not a place I want to see again; Olympics in London were just not exciting enough to save money and spend it there…

Rio de Janeiro 2016 – Sure, sure, Rio is not far from Istanbul. Let me check ticket prices…

This is an open letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in their evaluation of Istanbul’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games:

Dear Olympic guys (it’s always guys),

I believe every citizen in Istanbul, in Turkey, wants to host the Olympic Games in 2020.

Yes, we are, at the same time, horrible people, as the world insists on seeing us. Yes, we are too crowded; we are a flock of unqualified labor force for Europe. Yes, we smell; yes, we have unresolved issues of our men beating our women; yes we protect the battering husband and the rapist; yes, we are terrorists and drug smugglers…

Nevertheless, apart from all these, we are also normal, friendly and nice people with hospitality genes engraved in our DNAs. We do our best to host our guests. We will make you; the visiting sportspeople, groups, tourists, officials and everybody else feel comfortable and enjoy this beautiful city. We will work hard to make it happen.

Hunger for Olympics

I bet Istanbul is the best city to host the 2020 Olympics; we deserve it more than any other city… We need it. Give it to us and we will show you how it is done.

Maybe we lack the Olympic spirit, as sports writer Bağış Erten told Barçın Yinanç in his interview: “Compared to others we are not ready as far as sports spirit is concerned; but precisely because of that Turkey should get it; because that will serve the purpose of acquiring that spirit. […] Turkey should emphasize its hunger for Olympic spirit and the dynamism of its young population. Both Spain and Japan have very serious established sports cultures; what will change after the Olympics, not much.” That’s why it should be here: So much will change afterwards… And even before… Give us this chance…

Which reminds me of Qatar’s controversial hosting of the World Cup. The word controversial is used here because of biased Western media reporting with a heavy touch of discrimination against Qatar.

We might not be as rich as Qatar but we have other strong assets as HDN sports columnist James M. Dorsey wrote: “a respectable international track record in a variety of other sports, including basketball and volleyball; ethnic, cultural and ex-colonial links across a swath of land stretching from China to the Atlantic coast of Africa; a functioning democracy with all its warts that many see as a model for the Muslim world; a highly developed educational sector; one of the world’s largest standing armies; and a state-of-the-art industrial base driven by indigenous labor.”

In an astonishing turn of fate, I agree with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on this. (What? Come again? Did you ever think you would form this sentence? No, a brick has not fallen on my head recently.) I agree and share the PM’s love for sports and idea that “The whole world must know that Turkey has big ambitions, based on national will and a strong state.” No, I don’t have a gun pointing at my head.

Istanbul Olympics will be unique, as unique as the city itself. It will be an unforgettable experience for whoever is involved. Give it to us. History will thank you.