Hosting the Olympic Games is a prestigious honor that cities around the world compete for with as much stamina and finesse as any world-class athlete. But just as with the sporting events they hope to celebrate, there can only be one winner, and when it comes to choosing a host city there is no silver medal.
Since the birth of the modern Games in 1896, several cities have submitted Olympic bid after Olympic bid, only to see their dreams of glory continuously dashed. Detroit alone has been rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) a whopping seven times.
These cities may be some of the losing-est Olympic hopefuls, but they still offer plenty of ways to get that sports fix, not to mention new and noteworthy gold-medal attractions that keep visitors coming back for more. While some cities last attempted a bid in the ’50s or ’60s, two of our picks – Istanbul and Madrid – are finalists to host the 2020 Games. Here’s hoping one of these rejects can finally get its chance at Olympic history.
Attempts: 1944, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972
Olympic Connection: You can’t blame Detroit for giving up its quest to host the Games after finishing second in the voting in 1964, 1968, and 1972. Detroit has produced many Olympic champions, including sprinter Eddie Tolan, who in 1932 became the first African American to earn two gold medals.
Get Your Sports Fix: The 2012 London Games mark the first time that baseball is not an official Olympic sport since the 1988 Games in Seoul. However, baseball is the summer game of Detroit, and the Tigers play in Comerica Park, a gorgeous stadium that joined the city’s downtown in 2000. Ford Field hosted the Super Bowl in 2006 and is the home of the Lions. Both stadiums offer guided tours to the public.
Gold Medal Attractions: It’s easy to pick on Detroit and its struggles, but it’s a vibrant city with more green space than you might imagine. Take a bike tour with Wheelhouse Detroit to explore urban gardens that actually supply some of the city’s restaurants with fresh produce.