Olympic Debt

olympic rings

The Olympics are one of the only times in history that the World stops to watch the games. Some people are so enthused with the Olympics that they will even travel to the hosting country to watch the Olympics first hand. This boost in tourism and the pride of hosting the Olympics are some of the reasons many countries battle for the right to host one of the Olympic games. One of the most memorable recent games were the 2008 summer Olympics which were hosted by China. Pollution was reduced, the city was scrubbed and stadiums were constructed in anticipation for the thousands visiting tourists and the billions of eyes that would be watching their city through screens. For two weeks China was the center of attention, but once the Olympics ended everybody leaving China with their extravagant arenas as monuments to their incredibly successful run as hosts. When the Olympics left it also left a large bill, costing China billions. Once the excitement surrounding the “Birds Nest” and the “Water Cube” left, attendance to events plummeted, as much as fifty percent.

Even though every country may not be as successful as China was at hosting their respective games, one thing that seems to remain the same is the enormous bill that hosting the Olympics brings. This bill has continued to grow and for the first time the IOC “International Olympic Committee” is having a hard time choosing a host for the 2022 Winter Olympics due to the fact that countries are withdrawing their bids.

“On Oct. 1, Oslo withdrew its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, making it the fourth city — after Stockholm, Lviv and Krakow — to have second thoughts about hosting the Games. With only Beijing and the Kazakh city of Almaty left in the running” Oslo withdrew its bid once support began to wane due to ballooning costs of the games. Its 5.4 billion dollar budget was initially supported, but as the costs increased the government and Norway’s general population wanted out. Even though the IOC gives some funds to the hosting country and there’s always the allure of adding jobs to the market, “According to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Games typically create anywhere from 50,000 to 300,000 jobs, but most of those jobs are temporary and go to people who already have work (only 10% of the 48,000 jobs created by the London Olympics, for example, went to previously unemployed people)”. So for countries who are in dire need of more jobs, the Olympic are not what the doctor ordered. Based on the most recent Olympics the only countries who should and want to host the Olympics are countries with developing economies. Other than building stadiums, hosting countries must also build a general infrastructure such as new roads and railways for tourists to reach destinations. For example, when Atlanta hosted the Olympics in 1996 its infrastructure was improved in the form of a new subway system. This way when the tourists leave the host country is at least left with some long term benefits. Another option could be to simply have countries that have previously hosted Olympics to continue hosting since they already have the infrastructure and the cost of updating their equipment would be nothing compared to the costs of constructing new buildings. Even though new parts of the planet will not be shown to the world, the chances of having a country crumble due to crippling debt will be greatly reduced.

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2 thoughts on “Olympic Debt

  1. jamesel2014 says:

    This is an interesting blog. I didn’t even think of the cost the winter or summer Olympic bring to the hosting country. It is also ridiculous that the IOC states that they bring more jobs, but forget to include they only give about 10% to the unemployed.

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  2. This is fascinating! I always wondered how countries were able to pay for the games. But don’t they make a good amount of the money back from tourists who come to watch the games, shop in the area, and need a place to stay? I also didn’t realize that of the jobs produced by a country hosting the games, most of the jobs are given to people who already have jobs. Although they are temporary, it seems like it would be more beneficial to provide people with work who don’t already have a job. To what extent is the cost of the games supported?

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