Hosting the Olympics, Worth It?

The London games are ongoing of course and the city is getting a boost. (Why London would need a boost is another question.) People are having a good time and that’s nice. Having the Olympics is “nice,” but is it “worth it?”

The monetary bill is three times over estimates. The IOC has been dictatorial in controlling its trademarks, nobody much who has not paid the IOC can sell Olympics stuff. Transport is snarled. Security is tight.

All in all, if your nearby metropolis proposed hosting the Olympics, would you be in favor?

Looking at all the hassle, I think I would just let someone else host and watch it on TV.

Some of the Bejing venues-then and now.

Thanks. The then and now pictures of the Beijing facilities were interesting. I think the Chinese government doesn’t care that they wasted all those billions on infrastructure that won’t be reused, but a democratic society might. And the big problem is that so many special-purpose facilities need to be built for sports and may not be needed in the long run. Ideally, they’d design the buildings so they could be reused in some other way at the end.

But to answer the question, no, I wouldn’t want my city to host the games, not unless there are enough universities around to absorb the special-purpose stadiums.

Slate must be watching this message board:

Article focusses only on the monetary impacts of the games and concludes it’s basically a wash and there’s better ways of using Olympic money than on the, you know, Olympics.

My adopted hometown of Oslo is talking about bidding for the Winter Games. I’m all for it! But the Winter Games are a completely different monster than the Summer Games. Smaller and considerably less expensive.

Yep, it’s mostly about legacy - human and material. Of the permanent venues all but one have long-term tenants (7 of 8, I believe), and the last is the main stadium itself (which looks kind of basic because it’s intended to be downsized after the Olympics). There’s a second round of contenders bidding for that now.

There was also another interesting bid of £1 billion for the whole park, which itself is the largest new urban park in Europe for 150 years (it being home to big piles of fridges and used tyres before). I guess the park is also part of the legacy.

An aspect not often talked about is how resistant east London has been for several decades despite successive efforts at renewal. This investment is a really very serious effort to finally solve this significant economic issue once and for all.

The most important legacy imo is the human … get back to me in ten years on that, though looking at the level of school involvement and kids excitement you have to say they’re giving it a serious shot.

If anything, as a Londoner I hope putting legacy at the heart of bids becomes the norm, though you have to believe the unspeakable, self-serving, public money parasites of the IOC don’t give a damn.

I read an article that said that of all the recent host cities (Beijing excluded; it’s TOO recent), Barcelona 1992 was the only one that really fulfilled its hopes. Before the games it wasn’t on the radar of most people planning to visit Europe. Now it’s one of the top tourist cities on the continent.

What were left in Montreal after the Olympics were:

A billion dollar stadium that is used for an occasional auto show and not much else (the football team used it for many years and then discovered that the fans loved McGill’s stadium that they forced to use once on account of a conflict. They have moved permanently. The retractible roof worked for only a short time and the fixed roof they replaced it with leaks.

The Olympic village that would have fine in a southern clime, but has been something of white elephant. Who wants to live in a hi-rise with open hallways during the winter?

The Velodrome that has been converted into a really cool biodome. It has four areas with different climates, different flora and fauna in each. They really did that one right.

Thirty years of deferred infrastructure maintenance that they are only now fixing. Meantime there are regular water main and sewage breaks causing an occasional street collapse, causing traffic tie-ups, whatever.

Only the Biodome is a good legacy. The rest was a waste.

My husband and I were just having this discussion the other night. It does hardly seem worth it. Personally, I think it’s time to just pick one location where the games will be hosted and leave them there. London is a nice place and now they’ve got everything they need, so why not just keep it there? Of course, that will never happen, but I think it would be a much better use of resources.

I was thinking that Olympic Villages could be reused, but most of it is just waste.

Or if you want, you can apparently buy Olympians’ furniture.

The Tower is pretty neat, though certainly not worth the cost.

It’s been suggested more than once just to permanently locate the Olympics someplace. But where? Instead, how about putting most of the obscure sports facilities on a ship and then just moving it to whichever city opts to host the games? The city can still have the stadium and some of the events on dry land, but don’t need to build a velodrome or the other one-time-use-only buildings.

Well many of the venues that are shown in disrepair are for those sports which have limited or negligible
local following.

I would say London is a special case. Hosting the Olympics makes little difference to the city overall, it is an Alpha world city. For Beijing, Sydney, Atlanta, Barcelona, Seoul etc, it provided them with attention that they would not have otherwise had and they got improvements; Athens got a swanky new metro out of the deal (and a mountain of debt).