Here is the inside story of how Olympics came to India.
India has been ruled by many – by parties like the Congress, the BJP, the Janata Party and indirectly by the likes of CPI, CPM, the DMKs and a host of other parties. There is no other party left, but for those that have fewer members than the half-way mark in Loksabha. Even the Moghuls, the British, the French, the Protuguese have tried their hands. But we are still not a “developed” country that others can think as capable of hosting the Olympics. In what way are we inferior to Brazil or Japan that are the hosts of the next couple of versions of Olympics? This is the thought that some of our think tanks thought when they had nothing else to think of. A committee was set up to look into this.
Some from the committee, the IOOOOOO, that is the Indian Organization to Organize Olympics On Our Own, felt we should wait till India progresses some more so that the opportunity to host Olympics will automatically come to us, owing to our prosperity and enhanced competence. Some others felt we should approach the International Court of Justice and get the venue of the 2016 games changed from Rio to Ranchi. But why Ranchi? Because, the thinker who came up with the idea of moving the Court was from Ranchi. One of the experienced thinkers however opined that 2016 would be too soon, as a lot of work has to be done and it would also reduce the potential number of foreign trips the organizers can make. Heeding to this advice, it was decided to wrest the 2020 Olympics from Japan.
Given the way they had handled the ICC, BCCI, IOC and also the way they involved in organizing the Asian Games, the IPL, etc., Lalit Modi, Sharad Pawar, Suresh Kalmadi and Srinivasan were assigned the above task and the BOTIC (Bring Olympics To India Committee) was constituted. The members met several times in the USA, UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Dubai and wherever else at least one of them was interested in. Also Brazil to see how they are shaping up for 2016 and Japan to assess why they can be disqualified. Then BOTIC shot off a letter to IOC demanding that the 2020 games be moved from Japan to India.
Shocked by the demand, the IOC officials asked for an explanation. BOTIC argued that India was more developed than Japan. Japan has no nuclear reactors but India has. On clarification by IOC that the Japanese nuclear reactors were shut down due to leakage, Sharad Pawar claimed “In India we won’t even know if a nuclear reactor leaks and even if we know we don’t leak the news to the public”.
Kalmadi offered to give the IOC officials “something” if they agree to move the games to India. When the officials asked what it meant, Kalmadi insisted on giving “something”. When the officials could not comprehend the situation at all, he pointed to the briefcases he had carried with him.
But the IOC would not budge. Pawar used the last straw. “We are an IT superpower. Our software experts are behind every possible software being used by every possible country. You too have outsourced your IT work to us. In no time we can bring the entire world to a standstill”. Realizing the potential consequences, IOC agreed to shift the 2020 games to India.
“But do you have the experience to organize such a mega event?”
“Of course we can”, Kalmadi claimed. “We did organize the Asian Games, not once but twice. We have a set of honest and dedicated administrators who can go to the extent of even going to jail for the sake of sports”. Srinivasan added “all rules will be bent for making the games a success”.
“But that is not enough. You need bigger teams at every level. Where is the manpower?” countered an IOC official.
“Huh! We are a nation of 1.2 billion people. If Japan can do it, we can too. Japanese population is equal to that of a suburb of Kolkatta”. The confused Japanese official in the IOC clarified, “That is not true. Tokyo is the second most populous city in the world.”
“We will beat that record before the games” promised Srinivasan.
The Japanese official was crying. He asked “Why 2020? Why not 2024?”
“Because”, Lalit Modi clarified “we have experience in organizing 20-20 Cricket…IPL. That is why 2020.” The Japanese was so horrified that he did not speak for the rest of the meeting. IOC had no choice but to announce shifting of the venue of the 2020 Olympics to India.
Having secured the commitment from IOC, the Indian delegation had an internal discussion. Thereafter Srinivasan fired a salvo at the IOC. “We will do it in 2018”.
“That is ridiculous! Olympics are always held once in four years and after 2016, it has to be 2020. No changing that”, retorted the IOC officials.
“But then why did you not do it during the World Wars? What is great about the four years interval?”
IOC was speechless. “But why 2018? Why not 2020?” they pleaded.
It was Sharad Pawar’s turn to suppress dissent. “Because, we may not be around by then. We would have agreed to 2019 at best, but that is our election year. By the way, just to remind you, we churn out some 50,000 engineers every year and most of them turn into software engineers and they …….”
Thus the 2018 Olympics came into being and was awarded to India. Subsequently, IOA has scheduled many meetings with IOC on the actual conduct of the games. More on them as the events unfold.