Are the Olympics really worth it ?

Looking back to Chapter 3 of our class textbook “Game Over: How Politics has turned the sport world upside down” by Dave Zirin, I more or less begin to wonder if the Olympics are really worth it ?

Throughout this chapter Zirin continues to discuss all of the issues and battles countries have to go through in order to make the Olympics happen.  The example he uses first is the London Olympics.  During it’s beginning stages he tells about all of the discontent and unhappiness many people have towards the Olympics coming to London and how it will not be a major benefit to London, but instead be a money sucker (so to speak).  On page 54, Zirin states that “The latest figures have the London games coming in at ten times above the 2005 projected budget, which means that the projected taxes will be even higher than Livingstone’s rosy calculations” (Zirin, 2013).  Much anger arose in the city of London, causing “a week of fiery riots”, “conventional terrorism”, and “a shortage of affordable housing” (Zirin, 2013).  You would think that such destruction would have lead London to re-think whether or not they wanted to continue with having the games?

Similar anger arose during the Vancouver Olympics.  Most of the anger came about when tax dollars were used to pay for many expenses, and when projected budgets were left in the dust by millions (Zirin, 2013) !  To top it all off, despite the major unaffordable expenses that were incurred during the construction of the games, individuals continue to read about all of the doping scandals of athletes that they are “paying” to watch compete.  It’s almost becoming more of a “whose-the-best-doping-athlete-that-can-hide-it-from-the-drug-tests-for-the-longest-period-of-time” Games.  It’s sad, but true.

Overall, the excitement of waiting for the Olympics to come, is slowly dwindling down into a “I’ll-guess-i’ll-watch-it-since-there’s-nothing-else-on” kind of month.

So, what can we do to make the Olympics something that people are supporting?  Something that people look forward to and are more than happy to support?  Something that countries aren’t risking going bankrupt over an event ?

Zirin, D. (2013). Game over how politics has turned the sports world upside down. (pp. 50-72). New York, NY: The New Press.

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5 Responses to Are the Olympics really worth it ?

  1. jaredgib says:

    I had the same thoughts after reading this chapter by Zirin, and have been asking myself the same question. Personally I believe a solution might be to have the Olympics in the same country, namely where they originated, Greece. It might even make the Olympics profitable because instead of building new stadiums for every Olympics, the same building could be used, with renovations prior to every Olympics. Of course this raises further issues of broadcasting schedules, a perceived unfair advantage for Greek athletes, and potential revenue-sharing between participating countries. However if those issues could be resolved, I believe we might see the day where Olympics are once again truly appreciated. Great post Belinda!

    Marked – SE

  2. ed10je says:

    I agree with some of your points, however while I think there are definitely some negative aspects of hosting the Olympics, the positive outcomes outweigh them. People are always going to have negative opinions toward stuff that is funding with public tax dollars. The Olympics offer more than just monetary benefits or concerns. There are so many intangibles attached to hosting such as pride within a country, as well as the relief that sporting events provide. For example the Vancouver Olympics were a major high point in Canada, and while people can argue the expenses Canada endured because of it, you can’t argue against the unity and bonding associated with Canada’s performances and successes in those games.

    Marked – SE

  3. bozceko13 says:

    In my opinion, the Olympics are not worth it. There are so many things wrong with budgeting for the games. First, there should be a strict budget that countries should adhere to when hosting and they should not be allowed to spend more than the budget because they are just putting themselves further into debt. Also, I don’t understand this fascination with world-class state of the art stadiums that are in most cases used for only the Olympics and become deserted afterwards. Countries should build stadiums and facilities for the Olympics but they should know that it is not necessary to host the games. We watch the games to see the best athletes in the world compete in the sports that we love, and for me I do not care if they are playing on a pond somewhere in northern Ontario or a state of the art facility, just as long as they are playing the sport.

    Marked – SE

  4. mb11oo says:

    Although I agree that the Olympics have become an orgy of making as much money, and gaining as much power and influence as possible, I still feel that the Olympic movement by in large has more positive aspects than negative.
    As a Vancouver resident myself I got the feel from fellow citizens that most supported the games and it is only the vocal minority who make it a point of, “raining on everyone’s parade.” Vancouver received an embarrassing amount of infrastructure both in sport and in transportation. Without the games bid, this infrastructure would likely not have been built for decades to come. The funds that were “waisted” on the games bid would likely have been diverted to other organizations or causes (i.e. like suspicious monetary loans for foreign governments that never get paid back), where taxpayers would never realize any tangible value from. Cities who host the Olympics do realize an enhanced profile on the international stage which can serve as an engine to drive more economic activity in their region. It is up to the region themselves, NOT the Olympic movement to govern the levels of expenditure of resources to the pursuit of Olympic games.

  5. rm09gu says:

    The Olympics has in my opinion become a ‘who can spend a ridiculous amount of money competition’ Countries bid for the Olympics knowing that in order for them to be a success they must, most of the time, spend more than the previous host nation did, this escalating cost of hosting the games is becoming problematic in today’s economy where most countries are already in mass amounts of debt. With that said the hosting the Olympics does have some benefits to the host nation but these benefits are far out weighed by the negatives that come along after the games have been completed. :The London Olympics had serious issues before the Olympics took place and during, one example of this was how residents of the area were forced to make alterations to there way of life, due to hosting the Olympics. The Olympic games is about sport and watching world class athletes compete, like the previous comment said its not about how fancy the stadium is or how amazing the infrastructure is, I believe we need to get back to the idea of competition in regards to sport not economically.

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