Prague - The important thing in life is not to triumph but to compete, goes the oft-quoted dictum of Pierre de Coubertin, who is credited with reviving the Olympic Games tradition in modern times.
It is all very well but as far as the fight for the right to host the games is concerned, fair play typically takes the back seat to powerful interests.
And Prague joins the fray today as it officially expresses its interest for the first time to host the 2016 summer Olympics.
A letter is being sent to the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne bearing the signatures of the City Mayor Pavel Bém and the Czech Olympic Committee chairman Milan Jirásek.
"We are openly saying for the first time that we want to host the Olympics. This letter is making us officially a candidate city," Karel Tejkal of the Praha olympijská (Olympic Prague) company told Aktuálně.cz.
It also requires a guarantee from the national Olympic committee, which is why the letter bears Mr Jirásek´s signature next to that of Mr Bém.
What comes next
The road to the Olympic Games
- November 30 - first payment of the candidate fee (3 Mil CZK)
- January 14, 2008 - deadline for the IOC questionnaire
- May 2008 - short-list of the candidate cities
- June 2008 - payment of the rest of the candidate fee (10,4 Mil CZK)
- November 2008 - complete candidacy proposal
- October 2009 - final host city selection
Prague now has until January 14 next year to fill and send the IOC questionnaire which deals with issues of importance to the potential hosting of the event.
The Czech organizers will have to explain, for example, how they plan to safeguard security of the games. Another important chapter is marketing. IOC also wants to know the precise location of the main stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies are to be held as well as the intended place for the Olympic village.
As perhaps somewhat unnecessary with all the data readily available elsewhere comes the inquiry about the average summer temperature in the Czech Republic.
The questionnaire plays a key role since IOC will judge Prague precisely by what it finds inside. It will then announce, in May 2008, whether the Czech capital made the short-list of the candidate cities.
And it will not be until October 2009 that everybody finds out who gets the honor and the spoils coming with it. Prague faces some tough competition from the likes of Los Angeles, Chicago, Rio de Janeiro or Berlin.
Studies, analyses, consultations
Each chapter in the questionnaire will have its warranters. Prague wants to engage both the general public and experts in the discussion process.
"Some of the chapters are more difficult to go through than the others. There needs to be some additional work done for example on the economic feasibility study, we also have analysis under way of the possibility to have some of the events take place at the Strahov stadium," said Tejkal.
And as for the tricky weather questions, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute should take care of it with an expert report.