Which Olympics went off with the least trouble/SNAFUs/controversy?

In the runup to the 2012 Olympic Games I keep hearing about how there are all kinds of screwups with the planning and security, and how Londoners actually resent the whole thing, cabbies are actually protesting the zone of lanes reserved for Olympic traffic . . . and in previous Olympiads there have been terrorist attacks, boycotts based on geopolitical conflicts between participant countries, athlete-doping scandals, financial-organizational scandals . . . One wonders if it is possible ever to carry off an international event of such scale, profile and complexity at all well. Which Olympic Games of the past, Summer or Winter, have gone the most smoothly, with the least trouble, the least controversy, the least scandal, the least mistakes? Just wondering.

Sydney 2000 seemed to go off without many hitches or controversies. In the lead-up there were doubts, but the actual event went quite smoothly.

Lake Placid 1932 would be my guess because the whole thing was so incredibly rinky-dink. The III Winter Olympiad was put together entirely with local money. It had to be in a worldwide depression. There was no help coming from anywhere, no layers of bureaucracy, almost no promotion or tourism, and very little to spark international politics (there were only 17 countries entering 250 competitors). The biggest issue was a wet, mild winter.


“Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

Not Atlanta.

Probably not Vancouver.

The 84 Olympics went pretty well, even without the Commies. And they started from behind schedule and over budget, and came in under budget. They had someone capable in charge.

:shrugs at the avalanche of denial:


The complaints about London 2012 strike me as being a bit overblown (apart from the G4S cockup). London 1948, the original “Austerity Games”, is a candidate for a trouble-free one, there were no new facilities at all, and the competitors were put in barracks, private homes etc.

Denial’s a river, not an iceburg.

So who is this someone capable that you’re referencing? Le Marqués de Samaranch?

I don’t remember there being much controversy over the Barcelona games in 1992.

And not only that, but there were talks of moving the 2004 games there at the last minute if Athens wasn’t able to overcome their sheer incompetence leading up to the Opening Ceremonies.

No doubt, but, for purposes of this thread, that boycott alone excludes those games from consideration.

Beijing took place with few complaints from the Chinese people, I think.

Was there any big controversy at Seoul?

I assume he means Ueberroth.

I assumed it was a reference to Reagan, who opened the games. I don’t think he was actually in charge of them in any meaningful sense though, the opening is usually done by some local political bigwig.

But in anycase, a sizable chunk of the world boycotting the games is definitely a major SNAFU, even if its one outside the control of the organizers.

There was a smallish boycott by 4 countries, as North Korea felt that they should be allowed to be involved as a co-host with South Korea.

During the games, the only controversy I remember was sprinter Ben Johnson being stripped of his gold medal in the 100 meters, due to failing a drug test.

There was a boxing controversy as well.

Calgary 88? There was some post accounting controversy where the organizers claimed a profit and the media cried foul because they didn’t include government grants in their calculation bit that was the only negative I remember. There was concern about the climate but there weren’t many issues with that. The citizens were very much involved and supportive thanks to a well run volunteer program.

I think maybe the best of the recent games in the OP’s sense was Barcelona 1992.

I’m pretty sure he meant Peter Ueberroth. He was hailed as a genius for introducing corporate sponsorship to the Los Angeles games and bringing them in on budget.