Less than a year after Qatar surprised the world by winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup bid, the country has announced plans to bid for the 2020 summer Olympic games.
Except, if it wins, the tiny desert country will host the games in the fall instead of July/August, when temperates can reach up to a searing 50C (122F).
“It is fitting that the dream of hosting the Games should come to the Middle East at this time; our bid can inspire peace and is a priority for our youthful region,” Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, head of Qatar’s Olympic Committee said in a statement.
Doha, which joins Rome, Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo in the bid, was unsuccessful in its 2016 bid, in part because it proposed pushing back the games into the cooler months.
But this time, Qatar proceeds with the permission of the International Olympic Committee, which said a shift in schedule would not be a “deal-breaker.”
“We have listened and learned from our 2016 attempt to bid for the Games,” said Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Secretary General of the QOC.
“We know that it is imperative that we guarantee ideal conditions for athletes, support staff, technicians and spectators, and ensure events are scheduled appropriately for all stakeholders and that is what we will do.
“The Olympics are usually held in August. However, the event has been held later in the year. The 1964 Games in Tokyo and 1968 Mexico City Olympics took place in October, while the 1988 Seoul Games began Sept. 17.
It will be another two years before the IOC announces the winning bid, so expect Qatar to buzz with Olympics fervor at least until then!