The Olympics are a large-scale, high-risk project
To host an enormous international cohort, host cities must undertake a colossal infrastructure and construction projects. While they may seem incredible for the weeks that a site is used, more often, “host cities are often left with specialized sports infrastructure that has little use beyond the Games” with cities forced to bear the brunt of maintaining them. Beijing’s 2002 Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium is an iconic image, but one that costs Beijing $11 million a year to maintain and sits mostly unused. In Rio de Janeiro, the $700 million athletes’ village for the 2016 Summer Games are now in disuse. Additionally, Sofia Sakorafa, Greece MP and a former Olympian stated that the facilities built for the 2004 Athens Games “are rotting away because we don’t even have the money to maintain them. A lot of entrepreneurs and property developers got rich very quickly” while there is little benefit to the average Greek citizen. Across the world in former host cities, Olympic stadiums are covered in weeds and graffiti. Cities are now even taking preemptive efforts, for example, PyeongChang for the 2018 Winter Games had a date set for their stadium’s demolition before the games even began. For Sochi in 2014, their hosting of the Olympic Games was a public-relations disaster (and a disaster otherwise) for many reasons, but notably due to the fact that their facilities went unfinished in time for the games. All of these examples are not coincidence, together the articulate a cohesive story that the infrastructure and construction the Olympic Games demand are simply not worth it.
The old saying goes, “no risk, no reward.” While that is not a sound way to make economic decisions, with careful planning, it does hold true for hosts to the Olympic Games. With thoughtful planning for both present and future, as well as careful budgeting, it is more than popular for the high-risk project to pay off. London’s largely depressed and under resourced East End became revitalized by construction for the 2012 games, Barcelona once again became an international destination, Seoul’s Han River received a major cleanup for the 1988 Games, and citizens of Vancouver greatly appreciate the transit line built from downtown to the airport for their 2010 Games. All of these improvements would not have come about without the pressing timeline of the Olympic Games in these various locations.
Rejecting the premises