argument top image

Are Olympics an overall good or bad for the cities where they are hosted? Show more Show less
Back to question

The Olympic Games are a set of international sports competitions that occur every four years for winter and spring sports, or every two years overall. Each competition is held in a different city in a different country, with the potential possibility to repeat a location. As the world economy and tourism expanded in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, there has been some debate as to whether the Olympics is an overall good or bad experience for a host country.

The Olympic Games are an overall bad for their host city Show more Show less

The Olympic Games are an antiquated form of international competition that comes with imagined prestige for the hosts. The sheer scale of construction required to host the Olympics Games can overwhelm an unprepared economy, as well as cause damage to already vulnerable citizens. While hosting the games can bring a city and country into the international eye, the intangible alleged benefits are doing so are vastly outweighed by the literal, negative, and concrete impacts on a city.
< (2 of 2)

Already vulnerable populations are pushed further aside to fund the Olympic Games

There are numerous examples of cities and countries thrusting their own citizens aside to make way for the international competitors and visitors the Olympic Games surely bring.
< (3 of 3)

The Argument

Though not in line with the glitz and glamour televised around the world, the infrastructure and economic ability required to host the Olympic Games comes with a dark side for those citizens who are already so vulnerable. There are numerous examples of cities and countries thrusting their own citizens aside to make way for the international competitors and visitors the Olympic Games surely bring. The 1996 Atlanta Games came with the forced relocation of 6,000 residents from public housing, followed by rapid gentrification which displaced another 24,000 people.[1] A similar pattern followed a more recent Olympic Game, the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Although Brazil ranks 12th in social inequality, the government was somehow able to gather $14 billion to pay for hosting their games.[2] Furthermore, more than 250,000 people were forced to relocate from their homes. This is a familiar pattern, as according to a 2008 report the six Summer Olympics held between the 1988 Seoul Games and the 2008 Beijing Games forcibly evicted or otherwise displaced more than 2 million people. This draws into question how cities with already vulnerable populations, like the homeless population in Los Angeles, will fare when the 2028 Olympic Games returns to the city.[3] Additionally, a familiar promise of cities interested in hosting the Olympic Games is that there will be an immense amount of jobs created for local citizens. However, this is not the case. Salt Lake City is a viable case study for this, as only 10% of the amount of promised jobs were created for the Games, and a vast majority of those when to those who were already employed.[4] Thus, the unemployed and vulnerable were not aided at all. In sum, the international spotlight the Olympic Games creates forces a city to put its best face forward, unfortunately, this rarely coincides with what is best for the entire population.

Counter arguments

The fault of failing a population rests on an individual country and city, not on the presence of the Olympic Games. More than likely, vulnerable populations were being under-appreciated and underinvested in long before the possibility of hosting the games arrived. Furthermore, the games can actually be an opportunity to improve life for these populations. For example, London’s East End had been notorious for decades, if not centuries, for its deep poverty and societal issues, with its population historically various people of color. London, by investing deeply in this community prior to the 2012 Summer Games, was able to regenerate and improve life in many ways.[5] Similarly, Barcelona spent 83% of its budget on urban improvement for the 1992 Summer Games. Revitalizing a city for the local population and a successful hosting of the Olympic Games are not mutually exclusive events.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 10:39 UTC

Explore related arguments