Venue: Games Fleet
Commission: Concept Design
This is a proposal for a revolutionary new set of Olympic venues: Games Fleet.
Hosted on five of the largest ships the world has ever seen, Games Fleet changes the way the Olympic Games & Paralympic Games could be delivered; forever.
Games Fleet addresses the challenges facing host nations of an Olympics. The problems associated with hosting an Olympic Games are well known:-
The Summer Olympics are expensive for the host nation. London 2012 cost the British taxpayer £10 billion UKP. Around 50% of that budget was spent on new venues and their associated infrastructure.
They are so expensive, it means only the richest countries of the world can actually afford to host the Games. The most recent 27 modern Olympic Games have been hosted by only 18 different countries out of 192, since the modern Olympic Games began in 1896. The Games has been hosted 16 times in Europe (three times in UK, twice in Greece, twice in France, twice in Germany); six times in North America (four times in the USA); three times in Asia; twice in Australia. See Fig. 1.
Only 9% of the countries of the world have thus far, had the opportunity to host the Games. Fundamentally the Olympic Summer Games has become an event for the richest G8 countries rather than the whole planet.
This is reflected in the amount of gold medals won per country. The richest G8 Nations dominate. There is a direct correlation with the amount of money spent per athlete (on training facilities, sports science etc.) and the number of medals a nation wins. See Fig. 2.
The original principles of Olympism are being eroded. The Olympic Charter states: 'Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit.'
For the Olympic Games to truly be a world event, poorer nations need to be given the opportunity to truly take part. For this to happen, all nations need equal access to the most up to date training facilities and venues. These should not be available just to those countries with the highest GDP per capita. See Fig. 3.
Politicians talk a great deal of legacy, but is there very little real legacy in the new sports venues we create. No city on the planet needs a 90,000 seat athletics stadium. Non-Olympic international athletics events attract no more than 10,000 spectators per event. No city needs a 20,000 seat aquatics centre. Successful non-Olympic swimming events are doing well if they can attract more than 1,000 spectators per event.
Permanent Olympic venues are white elephants that require an enormous amount of costly annual maintenance. The £500m UKP London 2012 Olympic stadium is currently undergoing a £350m UKP refurbishment to convert the facility into West Ham FC’s home ground. Politically, this is being hailed as a great success, but for £850m UKP it would be possible to build half a dozen brand new football stadiums around the country. Also, when the works are complete, the new stadium will be neither a great athletics stadium nor a great football stadium.
Many structures built for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games sit abandoned since the torch was extinguished.
For the 2004 Games in Athens, the stadiums were late in going up and many have been empty for years. Recent photographs of the abandoned venues look more like Chernobyl than Athens. The Games have been a big contributing factor to Greece's current economic recession.
Meanwhile, paint is peeling on Beijing's £750m UKP Bird's Nest stadium, now no more than a tourist attraction with an annual upkeep of £10m UKP.
An Olympic Games is not good for the environment. The construction of sports facilities, residential areas and the new infrastructure required to host the Games results in a heavy environmental impact. The construction of the London 2012 Olympics released an estimated 3.4 Million Tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, yet London 2012 is hailed as the Greenest Olympics ever.
Once again, it is the wealthiest G8 nations that are the highest polluters of the planet. See Fig. 4.
Our proposal is to construct a Games Fleet of five ships.
The three key edicts of the Games Fleet manifesto is that in the future, the Olympic Games:-
The entire set of Olympic venues will be transportable to each country. At the end of the Games, they depart and no one is left with the burden of maintaining what could otherwise be white elephants.
The host country does not pay for the construction of these venues. They are borrowed.
Games Fleet will be nationless.
The fleet will house all of the venues required to host a Summer Olympic Games. It will cost an estimated £6 billion UKP to construct. The fleet will travel to a new host city every four years.
In between the four-yearly Games, this fleet will dock in countries where there are currently no modern sports venues. This will allow athletes in poorer countries to train in the most up to date environments. Games Fleet aims to address the unfairness of the current situation, where gold medals are only available to the richest nations.
Games Fleet will produce the same amount of CO2 during construction for its maiden Olympics as any other Olympics has to date, but for every Olympics thereafter, there will be no further CO2 released into the atmosphere as a result of construction. If Games Fleet is used for five Olympic Games, CO2 emissions will be only a fifth of those compared to constructing brand new venues every four years. This results in a massive 80% reduction in CO2 emissions over five Games.
The fleet is made up of five vessels. Each vessel represents one of the five Olympic rings that form the Olympic flag. The flag has a white background, with five interlaced rings in the centre: blue, yellow, black, green and red. This symbolic design represents the five inhabited continents of the world, united by Olympism, while the colours are those that appear on all the national flags of the world. The five vessels are named as such.
These are big boats. In fact, they will be the largest vessels ever built. They will be 20% bigger than the current world's largest container ships and super tankers. Rubeus, the main athletics stadium vessel, will be 70% larger.
This follows trends in the shipping industry. Giant container ships are being built in large numbers and they are still growing in size. A new class of container ship, the Triple E, is the most environmentally friendly container ship yet. The three Es in the name stand for economy of scale, energy efficiency and environmentally improved. It is over 400m long.
Games Fleet means that the Olympic Games can be hosted in some amazing new places. Imagine the 2024 Olympics being held in Port Louis, Mauritius; Lagos, Nigeria; or Bangkok, Thailand.
In fact, Games Fleet can berth in any country that can be accessed by sea. Games Fleet will not be able to visit landlocked countries, but it is worth remembering that only 7% of the world's population lives in a country without a coastline. See Fig. 5.
Games Fleet is not just limited to hosting the Olympic Games. These transportable venues could host the World Championships, The Commonwealth Games, The Asian Games and The Universiade Games.
No more 'will they or won't they' be finished on time.
No more budget overruns.
No more white elephants. Ever.
A massive 80% reduction in CO2 emissions over five Olympic Games.
The world will be a fairer place.