Olympic Games - Host Nations and Cities

Host Nations and Cities

The host city for an Olympic Games is usually chosen seven to eight years ahead of their celebration. The process of selection is carried out in two phases that span a two-year period. The prospective host city applies to its country's National Olympic Committee; if more than one city from the same country submits a proposal to its NOC, the national committee typically holds an internal selection, since only one city per NOC can be presented to the International Olympic Committee for consideration. Once the deadline for submission of proposals by the NOCs is reached, the first phase (Application) begins with the applicant cities asked to complete a questionnaire regarding several key criteria related to the organization of the Olympic Games. In this form, the applicants must give assurances that they will comply with the Olympic Charter and with any other regulations established by the IOC Executive Committee. The evaluation of the filled questionnaires by a specialized group provides the IOC with an overview of each applicant's project and their potential to host the Games. On the basis of this technical evaluation, the IOC Executive Board selects the applicants that will proceed to the candidature stage.

Once the candidate cities are selected, they must submit to the IOC a bigger and more detailed presentation of their project as part of a candidature file. Each city is thoroughly analyzed by an evaluation commission. This commission will also visit the candidate cities, interviewing local officials and inspecting prospective venue sites, and submit a report on its findings one month prior to the IOC's final decision. During the interview process the candidate city must also guarantee that it will be able to fund the Games. After the work of the evaluation commission, a list of candidates is presented to the General Session of the IOC, which must assemble in a country that does not have a candidate city in the running. The IOC members gathered in the Session have the final vote on the host city. Once elected, the host city bid committee (together with the NOC of the respective country) signs a Host City Contract with the IOC, officially becoming an Olympic host nation and host city.

By 2016, the Olympic Games will have been hosted by 44 cities in 23 countries, but by cities outside Europe and North America on only eight occasions. Since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, the Olympics have been held in Asia or Oceania four times, a sharp increase compared to the previous 92 years of modern Olympic history. The 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro will be the first Olympics for a South American country. No bids from countries in Africa have succeeded.

The United States has hosted eight Olympic Games, four Summer and four Winter, more than any other nation. The British capital London holds the distinction of hosting three Olympic Games, all Summer, more than any other city.

The other nations hosting the Summer Games twice are Germany, Australia, France and Greece. The other cities hosting the Summer Games twice are Los Angeles, Paris and Athens.

In addition to the United States, nations hosting multiple Winter Games are France with three, while Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Japan, Canada and Italy have hosted twice. Among host cities, Lake Placid, Innsbruck and St. Moritz have played host to the Winter Olympic Games more than once, each holding that honor twice. The most recent Winter Games were held in Vancouver, Canada's third Olympics overall. The next Winter Games will be in Sochi in 2014, Russia's first Winter Olympics and second Olympics overall.

Olympic Games host cities
Year Summer Olympic Games Winter Olympic Games Youth Olympic Games
Olympiad Host city No. Host city No. Host City
1896 I Athens, Greece
1900 II Paris, France
1904 III St. Louis, United States
1906 Intercalated Athens, Greece
1908 IV London, United Kingdom
1912 V Stockholm, Sweden
1916 VI Berlin, Germany
Cancelled because of World War I
1920 VII Antwerp, Belgium
1924 VIII Paris, France I Chamonix, France
1928 IX Amsterdam, Netherlands II St. Moritz, Switzerland
1932 X Los Angeles, United States III Lake Placid, United States
1936 XI Berlin, Germany IV Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
1940 XII Tokyo, Japan →
Helsinki, Finland →
Cancelled because of World War II
V Sapporo, Japan →
St. Moritz, Switzerland →
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany →
Cancelled because of World War II
1944 XIII London, United Kingdom →
Cancelled because of World War II
V Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy →
Cancelled because of World War II
1948 XIV London, United Kingdom V St. Moritz, Switzerland
1952 XV Helsinki, Finland VI Oslo, Norway
1956 XVI Melbourne, Australia +
Stockholm, Sweden
VII Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
1960 XVII Rome, Italy VIII Squaw Valley, United States
1964 XVIII Tokyo, Japan IX Innsbruck, Austria
1968 XIX Mexico City, Mexico X Grenoble, France
1972 XX Munich, West Germany XI Sapporo, Japan
1976 XXI Montreal, Canada XII Denver, United States
Innsbruck, Austria
1980 XXII Moscow, Soviet Union XIII Lake Placid, United States
1984 XXIII Los Angeles, United States XIV Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
1988 XXIV Seoul, South Korea XV Calgary, Canada
1992 XXV Barcelona, Spain XVI Albertville, France
1994 XVII Lillehammer, Norway
1996 XXVI Atlanta, United States
1998 XVIII Nagano, Japan
2000 XXVII Sydney, Australia
2002 XIX Salt Lake City, United States
2004 XXVIII Athens, Greece
2006 XX Turin, Italy
2008 XXIX Beijing, China
2010 XXI Vancouver, Canada I (Summer) Singapore
2012 XXX London, United Kingdom I (Winter) Innsbruck, Austria
2014 XXII Sochi, Russia II (Summer) Nanjing, China
2016 XXXI Rio de Janeiro, Brazil II (Winter) Lillehammer, Norway
2018 XXIII Pyeongchang, South Korea III (Summer) To be determined
2020 XXXII To be determined III (Winter) To be determined
2022 XXIV To be determined IV (Summer) To be determined
2024 XXXIII To be determined IV (Winter) To be determined


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