Rescuing The Olympic Games From Their Own Success

It is time to consider significant reforms to the way the Olympics are pursued, prepared for, and hosted

When Tokyo won the right to host the 2020 Summer Olympics back in 2013, it was seen as a great honor and an opportunity to showcase the city to the world. Celebrations rang out in the streets of the Japanese capital as the city began to prepare to host the event for the first time since 1964. But the golden sheen has worn off the coming games. The Japanese government has declared a state of emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which will result in most events being held without spectators, and a majority of Tokyo citizens now want the Olympics delayed or canceled altogether. It is tempting to say that Tokyo is simply a victim of bad luck related to the ongoing global pandemic, but even before COVID-19 struck, forcing the one-year postponement of the games, the Tokyo Olympics were already suffering from massive cost overruns and were well on their way to being one of the most expensive on record. With the cost of hosting the games now routinely exceeding any reasonably expected returns, it is time to consider significant reforms to the way the Olympics are pursued, prepared for, and hosted, including possible permanent Olympic venues around the world.

For 125 years, the modern Olympic Games have highlighted the peak of human athletic endeavor as reflected in the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC’s) motto—“Faster, Higher, Stronger.” Host cities have gladly shared the spotlight with the world’s greatest athletes at the world’s premier athletic event, and for many years, cities competed as vigorously as the athletes themselves for the perceived honor of hosting the quadrennial Summer or Winter Olympic Games. The past decade, however, has witnessed growing popular backlash against the Olympics worldwide as exploding costs and increasingly uncertain benefits accruing to the host city have significantly dampened interest in staging the games. Without significant changes, the IOC may find itself with few partners willing to undertake the risk and expense.

From rather humble beginnings in 1896, the modern Olympics quickly took on significance beyond simple athletic competition, and as the scale of the Olympics grew, so did the cost to the host city. With a price tag of more than $500 million (in 2021 dollars), Adolf Hitler’s 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, which were clearly designed to highlight the power and dominance of Nazi Germany, were not only 10 times more expensive than any previous games, they cost Germany more than every other previous host combined (Matheson 2019).

Συνέχεια ανάγνωσης εδώ


Σχετικά Άρθρα