Tue, Aug 15, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Not ready for the Olympics

By David Camhi

Liao Lin Li-Ling's (廖林麗玲) article ("Why can't Taiwan host the Olympics?", Aug. 10, page 8) shows that she has some knowledge of sport and how hosting a major international sporting event could benefit Taiwan. What is obvious to her, however, is certainly not so obvious to many Taiwanese, and this is why it is foolish to think Taiwan is ready to organize an event such as the Olympics.

Taiwanese have no idea how to organize an international tournament. And empty stadiums during the Baseball World Cup showed that Taiwanese will not watch a sports event for the beauty of the game, nor watch athletes other than Taiwanese.

The Futsal World Cup staged here in 2004 was also a fiasco in terms of organization, sponsorship and public interest. What was the point? There was little interest in futsal in Taiwan before the tournament and there is no interest now.

Attitudes toward sport here are slowly changing but it will take one, if not two, generations for Taiwanese to integrate sport into their daily lives.

Looking at hosting the 2040, 2044 or 2048 Olympics would still be optimistic in my opinion, but is definitely a more realistic target.

If you want to use the 2020 Olympic Games as a wake-up call for Taiwan, all we will get will be comments like President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) declaration about sending 20 soccer players to Brazil to boost the nation's chance of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. Such naive statements will only harm Taiwan's international image.

David Camhi

Taiwan

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