As the cost of hosting the Olympic Games increases it also brings other harms to the host countries and their local communities with it. We should consider whether new and unprepared countries should be allowed to host the games if they don’t have the facilities required to host them.
The Olympic Games bring tourism from all over the world to the host country. The influx of visitors shopping, staying in hotels and purchasing tickets to the numerous events may seem like a great idea for many countries to consider hosting the Olympic Games. However, the hefty price tag of hosting does not outweigh the potential positives.
Hosting the Olympics means paying a high price and uprooting disadvantaged communities and endangered wildlife as well as contributing to deforestation for the sole purpose of hosting a 14-day athletic event filled with facilities that will only be used for a limited time.
The most expensive Olympic Games to date is the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, costing a staggering $25 billion, which is more than three times more than the original estimate of $7.4 billion. Many of the estimated costs are unreliable as a result of inexperience in estimating such a large project. This leads to many of the costs exceeding estimates by 50%-700%, depending on the games.
To make matters worse, with the pandemic still raging throughout the world and fans not being allowed to be in attendance, it is estimated Tokyo will lose $22 billion as a result. While this is an unfortunate situation for Tokyo, it’s not the first time that a country has incurred a massive loss as a result of the Olympic Games.
The 2004 Olympic Games in Athens is believed to be a moderate contributor to the Greek financial crisis because the estimated cost grew substantially, which is common with practically all early estimates. Many stadiums now sit vacant, fenced off and guarded by security teams around the clock, which continues to cost the country quite a lot.
One possible way to make the price of hosting worth it is repurposing arenas and stadiums once the games are over. The aquatic center used during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing has since been turned into a water park. Additionally, several of the venues constructed for the 2008 Olympics will be used in the 2022 Winter Olympics this upcoming February. The Olympic Village that was used in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London has since been turned into apartments. There are so many great ideas for repurposing that a possible loss can soon become a positive.
Another change that should be made is that, prior to any government being allowed to submit a request to be considered host for the Olympics, they must first show they have a large portion of the infrastructure required to host. While this may lead to a cycle of the same few countries hosting the games, it would bring an end to many of the issues that come with an unprepared country hosting the games.
Additionally, it would force those countries that have already hosted the games to maintain their facilities rather than leaving them abandoned. This would significantly decrease the harm to disadvantaged communities, wildlife, and deforestation that comes with being a host as the majority of the facilities will already be built.
Countries that don’t reuse their infrastructure should then turn many of the facilities used and created specifically for the games into communities for those who were displaced as a result of construction. This could mean affordable housing, amusement parks, sanctuaries for displaced wildlife or even gardens for the communities that surround the Olympic grounds and provide those in need with necessary resources.
The extreme price tag is not worth any of the anticipated tourism that happens during the Olympics. The devastating results show what really happens after the athletes are gone, and the glitz and glamour of the Olympics have faded away. But there are ways to change those results in the future.