How the Olympic Locations are Chosen
Every two years, cities around the world make bids to the International Olympic Commission (IOC) to host the Olympic Games. Originally most Olympics games, especially the Winter Olympics, were selected on the strength of being a popular place for winter sports like a ski resort. Today, cities are selected through a much more rigorous process.
Any city that wants to host the Olympic Games puts in its name to the IOC and is considered an "Applicant City." For the next ten months, the IOC investigates the city on several points:
1) The city must prove that it is big enough to handle the Olympics. With the games come a huge number of tourists, athletes, journalists, and politicians. They must show that they can host the games in new stadiums and venues, they must house all the people in adequate hotels, and they have to transport everyone from one place to the next with a reliable mass transit system. They also need to show that they can handle the high level of security needed at the games.
2) The city needs to convince residents that the expenses of covering the Olympics (which may be covered by raising taxes) are worth it in city improvement and new jobs.
3) The cities needs to maintain a highly positive media exposure to carry the games. Fourth, the tangible effects of hosting the Olympic games may not prove beneficial if the bid committees do not exercise proper judgment in developing the city to host the Olympics.
If the IOC decides that a city has fulfilled the three points above, the city is considered a "Candidate City" and goes into the second phase of the process. After submitting an application and an application fee, the IOC makes a final judging on which city is the best candidate for the coming Summer or Winter Olympic Games.
The costs for bidding for the games is incredibly high. Bid committees must pay an application fee (The fee for hosting the 2012 Olympics was $150,000 U.S.), to the IOC. This high fee is meant to discourage cities that are not committed to the efforts necessary to host the Olympics. Following these fees, the cities generally need to begin large construction projects like building the "Olympic village" to house the athletes, new sports arenas and stadiums, and transportation systems.
If the Olympics are so expensive, why do cities want to host the games? Cities bid for the Olympics for a variety of reasons: the desire to show pride in their city and their country, the eagerness to be in the international spotlight for two weeks, the opportunity to bring new jobs into the community, and to build up tourism to that city.