The Olympic After Party

February 14, 2018

Everyone loves the olympics, whether it is summer or winter, people from all corners of the Earth come together to spectate and compete in various athletic events. In the Winter Olympics, there are 300 events in 35 different sports that take place over the course of 16 days. Over 250 medals will be given out this month in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It adds up to about $164,203 in resources to produce all of the medals. That dwarfs in comparison to the cost of hosting the games.

Usually after the 16 days of competition everybody goes back to their daily lives and forgets about the games. However, the effects of the games on the local economies are felt for decades. In 2006, the city of Montreal, Canada finally finished paying off their Olympic debt from hosting the 1976 games. The summer games in 2016 were magical for everybody watching from home. Unfortunately, residents of the Favelas, Rio’s poorest neighborhoods, were evicted from their homes days before the games took place. The Olympic coordinators needed the space and did not want viewers to witness the poverty-stricken city. Many cities pay upwards of $100 million just for a bid to the Olympics years in advance.

Rio residents witness the spectacle (Photo Credit: Human Rights Watch)

This is just for a chance to host. Actually hosting could cost as much 400 times that amount, as seen in 2008 at the Beijing games. The Chinese city spent more than $40 billion on the games and only brought in about $3.6 billion in revenue.

40 billion seems a little bit high to host a tournament, but after I looked into it, it makes sense. For cities that have never hosted an event of this size, infrastructure must be built. There needs to be adequate transportation for both athletes and spectators. Stadiums for events must be constructed along with villages for the athletes. On top of all of this water and electricity must be provided everywhere. The bill adds up quickly as funds run out.

The Olympics are a display of comradery and unification of 92 different nations and their athletes. Everyone enjoys the experience whether they leave with medal or not. The key word there is “leave.” The residents of the local cities are left with the economic and physical damages of the event. Leaving them with nothing but high taxes,  rundown venues, and long-lasting debt.  


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