That’s the intriguing headline topping the Standard’s website right now.
What at first appears to be a late April Fool’s joke might (just) hold some water. With only two years to go, host nation Brazil is said to have completed only 10% of its preparations (London 2012 had done 60% of preparations by this stage). According to the Standard, concerned Olympics bosses have made an informal approach to London, to see if we could use our proven infrastructure, systems and know-how, if an emergency plan B were needed.
The Standard’s source for this rumour is unnamed. Nor do we know his or her affiliation or connections. It is therefore impossible to weigh up the seriousness of the claims. Indeed, the whole thing could simply be made up, especially as the paper later quotes an IOC spokesperson calling such a move a “non-starter and unfeasible”.
It is an intriguing thought experiment, though. Would London be capable of resetting the various venues and infrastructure given a two-year lead time?
Most of the London 2012 venues are intact, if modified, and temporary structures could easily be redeployed. There would be many huge challenges to overcome, however, such as finding a new Athlete’s Village, reversing contracts such as West Ham’s tenancy of the Olympic Stadium, and raising the capital to make it all happen. And would most Londoners even want the Games again? Sure — it’s now a rare person who thinks that London 2012 was bad for the city, but repeating the effort just four years later would seriously reduce that novelty ‘once in a lifetime’ factor that helped propel the magic and ticket sales of the last Olympics and Paralympics.
On the plus side, a London 2016 would no doubt trigger another welcome sequel TV series to Twenty Twelve and W1A.