How can we make Mumbai Olympics ready?

MUMBAI THE HOST CITY OF 2036 OLYMPICS

Igor Latinovic, the alpine skier at the 1992 Winter Olympics
It would be wonderful to see athletes and sportspersons from all the countries in the world come together in Mumbai, and compete in the true spirit of the Olympics. And it could give our city a makeover too. Representational image, Pic: IIProduction, Wikimedia Commons

Mumbai should aspire to host the Olympics games in 2036, and working towards being Olympics ready will ensure Mumbai gets good infrastructure by creating jobs and helping the local economy.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been selecting a different city to host the Olympic games every four years since the first modern games were held in Athens in 1896. India should compete for the bid and nominate Mumbai as the host for the Olympics games 2036. The crucial chance to make that happen will be in 2023 when the IOC meets in Mumbai.

I am a volunteer for Mumbai March, an organisation of enthusiastic Mumbaikars who wish to work for a healthy and happy life for all in Mumbai. We have launched several initiatives like clean-up drives, road safety campaigns etc. We wish to participate in this endeavour and wholeheartedly work to prepare Mumbai Olympics. 

We have done various social projects in Sanjay Gandhi National Park, raising awareness for Mumbai Metro and working on Mumbai’s Rivers and the environment.

Olympism, the philosophy that guides the games

Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life-based on the joy of effort, the educational value of a good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) works towards “Sport for All” no matter their gender, race, or social class. 

We at Mumbai March believe that the philosophy of Olympism should be our guiding principle. We wish to bring the entire city and country together through the games and pave the way for joy, discipline and togetherness among all Indians.

The benefits of becoming Olympics ready

A city’s recognition as a host city for the Olympic games attracts tourists. If Mumbai becomes the host city, millions of tourists will pour into the city thereby generating millions of jobs. Also, the hosting of the Olympics upticks the sovereign stature and has a multiplier effect on global trade.

Photo of buildings adjoining a lake in Mumbai
Tourism infuses a lot of money in the city and thereby the country, leading to growth in the local and national economy. Pic: Mumbai March

The enthusiasm to do better and work towards becoming an Olympic-ready city will also require high-grade infrastructure, which will benefit not only the attendees at the Olympic games but also the residents of Mumbai. This infrastructure will be of use to the city much longer than the Olympic games. A better and well-connected city with excellent transportation will make the lives of the residents better.

Our city has varied cultures, traditions, and food habits and has always been accommodating to everyone who stays in Mumbai. Along with a contribution of more than 6% to the GDP, accounting for a large share of exports, it is home to the largest entertainment industry, Bollywood. Coexisting with the latest infrastructure is the wildlife and biodiversity, which the city dwellers have been struggling to preserve. The rivers of the city, and the forested Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which we at Mumbai March have fought hard to conserve must be protected at all costs.

India, in February 2022, won the right to host the 2023 International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) session in Mumbai in an unopposed race, during the 139th IOC Session in Beijing, China.

The IOC meeting in Mumbai will be the second IOC session in India. The country last hosted an IOC session in 1983 in New Delhi. This meeting will be crucial for the city to formulate a plan for infrastructural development. It will also be a chance for the authorities involved to showcase their capabilities to transform the city for the Olympics.

The enthusiasm to do better and work towards becoming an Olympic-ready city will also require high-grade infrastructure, which will benefit not only the attendees at the Olympic games but also the residents of Mumbai. This infrastructure will be of use to the city much longer than the Olympic games. A better and well-connected city with excellent transportation will make the lives of the residents better.

Our city has varied cultures, traditions, and food habits and has always been accommodating to everyone who stays in Mumbai. Along with a contribution of more than 6% to the GDP, accounting for a large share of exports, it is home to the largest entertainment industry, Bollywood. Coexisting with the latest infrastructure is the wildlife and biodiversity, which the city dwellers have been struggling to preserve. The rivers of the city, and the forested Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which we at Mumbai March have fought hard to conserve must be protected at all costs.

India, in February 2022, won the right to host the 2023 International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) session in Mumbai in an unopposed race, during the 139th IOC Session in Beijing, China.

The IOC meeting in Mumbai will be the second IOC session in India. The country last hosted an IOC session in 1983 in New Delhi. This meeting will be crucial for the city to formulate a plan for infrastructural development. It will also be a chance for the authorities involved to showcase their capabilities to transform the city for the Olympics.


Read more: Political parties promised Mumbaikars more open spaces, did they succeed?


Criteria to host Olympic games

To become Olympics ready, Mumbai has to meet several challenging requirements which have been laid down by the IOC. The decision is taken 7 years before the event and the bid is approved only after the IOC is satisfied and the application fee is paid. After this entire process, the construction process begins.

One of the primary criteria is to ensure the availability of ample and good quality accommodation for athletes, tourists, journalists and media persons. An efficient transport system to ferry the athletes and tourists must be set in place. Sufficient space to host the sporting disciplines, for media coverage on news and television is also mandatory. Security is a very important aspect for the safety of the athletes. Meeting the criteria and being chosen to host the Olympics is a dream and will be a matter of pride for every Mumbaikar residing in the financial capital of India.

Rio de Janeiro, the city which hosted the 2016 Olympics also designed an ambitious legacy plan which aimed at improving mobility, environment, urbanisation, education and culture. As part of the same project, the city introduced several projects apart from the Olympic boulevard, such as a metro line and a Bus Rapid Transit. This legacy plan stands as a guiding document for other developing countries across the world which can emulate such plans for long term transformation in the city. 

Significance of the 5 Olympic rings for our work

The Olympic brand is a unique and powerful identity which transcends sport. The Olympic rings logo is the first global, universal, non-religious sign wielding enormous power. The first step to ignite this dream was to design the logo for Mumbai Olympics 2036. It took us 4 years to kick start this project as various aspects need to be taken care of mainly Environment, Infrastructure and Economy.

Details on the five rings of the Mumbai Olympics 2036 are self-explanatory. The yellow ring is for the Happiness of every individual. Black is for Infrastructure, Red is for Economy. Green is for Environment and Blue is for India.

For us to bid for the Olympics, we should have clean air, no noise pollution, clean rivers and beaches and greenery all around. Apart from all this Mumbai’s infrastructure, metro train, water transport, depots for outstation buses and taxis and most importantly, Housing for All, where no one is forced to live in slums.


Read more: Why ‘affordable housing’ is just a myth in Mumbai today


Our contribution to this cause

To host the Olympics, we have to work hard to meet the criteria set by the IOC. This means homes for all, happiness around, and greenery in our city which will keep the environment clean and keep Mumbaikars healthy. As a volunteer at Mumbai March, I believe focusing on Environment, Infrastructure and Per capita income is the need of the hour.

Team photo of Mumbai March members
Team Mumbai March. Pic: Mumbai March

While doing all this we realised that every Mumbaikar wants to do something for this city in their way either through eye donation awareness, blood donations, clean-up campaigns, planting trees, supporting the needy, supporting cancer patients and NGOs, working for a plastic-free city, women empowerment, girl child education etc. The need of the hour is to come together and work for a better Olympics-ready Mumbai. Mumbai has always stood out for demonstrating cooperation in the face of competition. This is why we are keen on taking Mumbai to newer heights.

Also read:

About Avinash Thawani 1 Article
Avinash Thawani is a member of Mumbai March, a people’s movement that seeks to create sustainable road safety solutions and works on cleaning up the environment.