Which Continent Has Never Hosted The Olympic Games?

Africa remains the only continent to never have hosted the Olympic games.
Africa remains the only continent to never have hosted the Olympic games.

There are two types of Olympic Games: the Winter Olympics and the Summer Olympics. The Olympic Games are held every four years with the Summer and Winter Olympics occurring two years apart. The Olympic Games have grown over the years, so much so that almost all nations around the world are represented in the games. In recent years, over 10,000 athletes take part in nearly 34 sports divided into nearly 400 events.

Which Continents Have Hosted the Olympics?

The Olympic symbol represents the different continents coming together for the Games. Image credit: Singulyarra/Shutterstock

Since the inception of the modern Olympics in 1896, there have been 28 editions of the Summer Olympics and 22 editions of the Winter Olympics. The Summer Olympics have been held in 23 cities while 19 cities have had the privilege of hosting the Winter Games. Most of the Olympic Games, both winter and summer, have been held in European and North American cities. In fact, European cities have hosted most of the games (29 editions). South America hosted the games for the first time in 2016 when the summer events were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. North America and Asia have hosted the sporting event 12 and 6 times, respectively. Two Games have been hosted in Oceania. Africa remains the only continent to have never hosted the Olympic Games.

Why Has Africa Never Hosted The Olympic Games?

Although major sporting events like the FIFA World Cup, World U18 Championship in Athletics, and the All-African Games have been successfully held in Africa, the Olympic Games have yet to be hosted by any African city. Several reports have named South Africa as the only country capable of hosting the Games in Africa because it has the necessary infrastructure and resources for such a monumental event. However, major weaknesses have been highlighted that would prevent its selection, such as a high crime rate.

In 2005, the president of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, encouraged African cities to bid for the 2016 Olympic Games since they stood a high chance of winning if they met the requirement. Kenya announced its intention to put its bid for Nairobi but failed to launch a serious bid. It is also important to note that Cape Town, South Africa was shortlisted for the 2004 Games. However, Athens won the bid.

When Will Africa Host The Olympics?

Dakar, Senegal will host the Summer Youth Olympics in 2026, which will be the first time an Olympic event is held in Africa.

The host city is often chosen at least seven years prior to the Games, with the process involving two phases spanning a two-year period. The cities wishing to host the Games apply through their respective National Olympic Committee. After a vigorous interview and several inspections of the facilities by the IOC officials, the final cities are shortlisted with the IOC members voting for the host city. As of now, the host cities for the next two Winter Olympics and three Summer Olympics have been decided. Unfortunately, no African city is among the hosts. However, Dakar, Senegal has been selected to host the Youth Summer Olympic Games, originally schedule to be held in 2022 but moved to 2026. Because of the successful 2010 World Cup Event in South Africa, it is only a matter of time before that country hosts the Olympics as well.


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