Major cities around the world place bids years in advance to host the Summer Olympics games. Here’s a look at some major metropolises that went for the gold…and lost the race.
In 1936, Tokyo was selected as the site of the 1940 Olympics, the first Asian city to host the Games. But in 1937, world leaders put pressure on the International Olympic Committee to pull out of Tokyo, after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Tokyo forfeited the games, and they were awarded to second-place bidder Helsinki, Finland. And then the 1940 Olympics were called off in the wake of World War II. (Helsinki wound up hosting in 1952.)
The English city had successfully bid on the 1944 Olympics, which were cancelled due to World War II. (London finally hosted the Games in 1948.)
During its period in the mid-20th century as the center of American manufacturing and the auto industry, Detroit entered the bidding process in the early 1940s to host the 1944 Olympics. (London won, but World War II led to a cancellation of the Games.) Detroit bid again in 1948 (which London won, to make up for the cancelled 1944 Games). Another unsuccessful bid came for the 1952 Olympics. And then for the Summer Olympics held in 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1972. Detroit has still never hosted an Olympics.
Shortly after the 1976 Summer Olympics were a financial disaster for Montreal, bids came due for the 1984 Summer Olympics. Terrified by the same economic fate that had befallen Montreal, only two cities put in bids: Los Angeles (which planned to use pre-existing venues as a way to save money)…and Tehran, the capital city of Iran, and where 52 Americans were held hostage from 1979 to 1981. Tehren ultimately pulled out before the selection process began, and Los Angeles got the Games.
The city did very well in the bidding process but the IOC ultimately didn’t let the city continue with its bid after the committee announced its intent to hold the Games in October, far too late for the Summer Olympics. That delay hurt the bid, but it was necessary: Summer temperatures in Doha regularly reach 113°F.