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Are Olympics an overall good or bad for the cities where they are hosted? Show more Show less
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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, and Olympics game 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.
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The Olympics are a large-scale, high-risk project

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.

The Argument

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.

Counter arguments

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.[5] All of these improvements would not have come about without the pressing timeline of the Olympic Games in these various locations.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.30.2.201
  2. https://www.npr.org/2012/07/10/156368611/chinas-post-olympic-woe-how-to-fill-an-empty-nest
  3. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8595360/Greeces-Olympic-dream-has-turned-into-a-nightmare-for-Village-residents.html
  4. https://apnews.com/article/04f9e1c5275e405581bfb21086309a6a
  5. https://www.britannica.com/list/7-ways-hosting-the-olympics-impacts-a-city

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 14 Oct 2020 at 20:28 UTC

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