Sunday, July 20, 2008

Athenians have second thoughts about Olympics

According to a story in the Christian Science Monitor, some in the city of Athens are reconsidering whether hosting the 2004 Olympic Games was really worth the $15 billion cost. The stadiums lie either empty or underutilized. Athens got some infrastructure out of the deal – the metro was revamped, the ancient city center was beautified, and the airport was enlarged – but all of those investments could have been made without hosting the Olympics. Beijing is spending an estimated $40 billion on their coming out party, but authoritarian regimes are insulated from the oversight and criticism that other Olympic hosts face from their citizens. The article also implies that Tokyoites are a lot less receptive to the idea of hosting the Olympics in 2016 than they were in 1964. The trend seems to be that citizens in booming, upcoming cities (Tokyo 1964, Beijing 2008) are more likely to welcome the Olympics than citizens of dynamic market-oriented cities who don't need to prove themselves to the world.

All my writings on Olympics-related topics here, with more examples of Olympics-gone-wrong in Sochi and Baku.

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