If you're going to bid for the Olympics, you've got to have a gimmick.
Just ask Olympic hopefuls in Jaca, Spain, who have declared native Spaniard Placido Domingo its Olympic "cultural ambassador." Or how about Nagano, Japan, which sports the world's richest man as its honorary bid chairman.The sky's the limit when attempting to capture the imagination and votes of the often reclusive and elitist International Olympic Committee.
Among some of the promotions that candidates for the 1998 Winter Olympics include:
- Jaca has commissioned General Motors to build it a special edition Opel Corasa Jaca, one of which they gave to IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch. They also travel around Spain in a specially painted bus and have a specially designed hot-air balloon.
- Nagano, whose Olympic theme is "Communication Through Hospitality," had thousands of children send postcards around the world telling people about their Olympic dreams. They've also opened an "Olympic Center" in a downtown bus station.
Their bid committee ran a two-page ad in the International edition of Time magazine when the IOC held its recent session in Tokyo. It also conveniently placed crowds of sign-carrying Japanese along bus routes along which IOC members were traveling.
- Salt Lake City printed its bid book on pine-scented paper, in two buckskin-bound volumes packed into a Pony Express bag. The books will be hand-delivered to IOC members.
Utah schoolchildren will also see a specially donated Utah Olympics van packed with winter sports equipment.
- Even though it doesn't have any winter sports facilities, Sochi, USSR, has beaches and didn't mind showing photos of topless sunbathers in its presentation to the press in Tokyo.
- Both Oestersund and Jaca are into royalty. The Spanish Royal Family on skis is used in promotional material for Jaca. Sweden's royal couple also endorse Oestersund's bid. Not to be outdone by European blue blood, George Bush gets top billing in one of the volumes of Salt Lake City's bid book.