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Prominent Hungarians’ Opinions On Hungary’s Withdrawal From Olympic 2024 Bid

In this article you can read a few opinions from the members of Friends of Hungary Foundation about last week’s decision to withdraw Budapest’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics. As the Hungary Today reported before the Hungarian government passed a resolution in which it proposes that the City of Budapest and the Hungarian Olympic Committee should withdraw Budapest’s bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Budapest, 2016. január 26. Vizi E. Szilveszter, a Magyar Atlanti Tanács elnöke interjút ad az MTI-nek dolgozószobájában Budapesten 2016. január 19-én. MTI Fotó: Bruzák Noémi

Dr. E. Sylvester Vizi –  Former President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Friends of Hungary Foundation

About Noolimpia:

“Giving up on hope is more than a mistake: it is a sin. The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.’—from Dennis Gabor’s book Inventing the future. It wasn’t fate that prevented [the Olympics] from being realized; we gave up on our hopes. I would recommend [Gabor’s] book to read.”

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Matyas Sarkozi – Writer, journalist at the BBC’s Hungarian affairs bureau

“Hungary, an Olympic participant since the beginning of the Games, always managed to be in the elite club of the medal-winning nations, but for historical or financial reasons, uniquely, never had the opportunity to host the event. With the new Olympic rules, according to which the Games can be scaled down and made cheaper by cutting the paraphernalia, it didn’t seem reckless for Budapest to apply.

The Budapest Olympic games would have been a tremendous opportunity to welcome visitors from all over the world, raising Hungary’s prestige, and with careful budgeting perhaps it could have managed to break more or less even.

In my judgment, the Hungarian anti-Olympic Games movement was set up as an obvious anti-government manipulation, it has very little to do with the actual sporting event. Seeing this, the Government had no choice but to recall the application.

I haven’t yet seen any country where a plebiscite was held on whether to host or not to host the Olympic Games, once an application was decided on by a city, supported by the competent government institutions and the National Olympic Committee.”

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Jozsef Toth-Zele – Football player (Atlético de Madrid)

“Keeping earlier Olympics in mind, I felt that Budapest’s bid was a bold decision; although it is certainly true that if the right to host the Olympics was decided by Olympic wins adjusted for population size, we would unquestionably be in first place.

Organizing the Olympics can provide incredible advantages to a country on the world stage, since thousands and thousands come to visit from every country in the world, and can get acquainted first-hand with not only our sports skills, but our people and our naturally beautiful cities, all of which in turn will make the country a more attractive tourist destination for many years to come. Likewise, there can be positives when a city takes (as Barcelona did) the former Olympic Village and transforms it into a beautiful residential neighborhood.

By contrast (in the example of Brazil), in the Maracana Stadium itself, as well as in other sport complexes that cost billions, not only the chairs, but even the artificial turf has been hauled away, and since then no races have been held in these edifices.

Perhaps my opinion of the bid withdrawal is that at the very least it came too early. It is completely unclear whether Hungary would have won the rights to host [the 2024 Summer Games]. In the case of potential future bids, however, they would have taken into account the country’s earlier application. It would have been possible to withdraw later as well!”

Adam Topolansky – Journalist

“In the meantime, in this recent debate about the Olympics, the patriotic people of Hungary have expressed their sentiments clearly: they wish to lift the entire nation by bidding for the organizing rights.  And they seemed to have been resisting all those who stood in the way. Yes, the cynicism of the opposition may have worked in the short run. They may have won a ‘battle’ yet again, perhaps for the last time. But they will likely lose the war in the long run. Rest in peace naysayers!” You can read the rest of Adam Topolansky’s blog piece here.