A new format for the Olympics?


in Economics, Politics

So many recent Olympic games have had a questionable legacy and, since the world as a whole needs to be undertaking a massive effort to function more sustainably, it seems like the itinerant period in Olympic history might be appropriately brought to an end.

It’s lunacy to build Olympic-level athletic facilities over and over again, particularly since many of them (like ski jumps and bobsled tracks) cannot be safely used by anyone outside a tiny handful of world class athletes.

Instead, it seems much more sensible to adopt one of two approaches: the establishment of permanent homes for the summer and winter Olympics in suitable locations where the facilities already exist, or the dispersal of the Olympics with events to happen in different places around the world which already have facilities in place. Either approach would eliminate the role of the Olympics as a national prestige project, but that’s arguably where most of the problems come from, from massive spending on security and facilities to corruption.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

. June 29, 2017 at 3:19 pm
. June 29, 2017 at 3:19 pm

From unpaid workers to barren arenas, Rio’s Olympic legacy has quickly become one of regret

Scott Stinson: The more you dress up Olympic spending into big, long-term legacy projects, the more risk you run that those things will never materialize

. June 29, 2017 at 3:20 pm

The business model for the Olympic Games is running out of puff

Budapest is the latest city to withdraw its bid to host them

After lots of cities bowed out of the competition for the 2022 winter games it was again left with two options: Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, China. The prospect of having no bidders for future events—or of having a bidding contest between autocrats eager to host a vanity project—seems likelier than it once did.

The really radical answer would be to designate one or a few permanent host cities so that the Olympics sports infrastructure has a life beyond the extinguishing of the Olympic flame. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has spoken favourably of this idea. The proposal is not new. In 1896 Greece’s King George pleaded with de Coubertin to make the country the permanent host. The Frenchman would not have it. “I decided to act as if I were stupid, pretending not to understand,” he wrote. Thomas Bach, the IOC’s president, may not have the luxury of ignoring reality for much longer.

. July 31, 2017 at 7:14 pm

Los Angeles Makes Deal to Host the 2028 Summer Olympics

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles officials are expected Monday to announce a deal with the International Olympic Committee to play host to the 2028 Summer Olympics, giving up a bid for the 2024 Games to Paris and bringing the Olympics back to the United States for the first time since 2002.

. August 5, 2017 at 1:05 pm

But it’s Los Angeles, deferring its bid to 2028, that has the more radical Olympic idea: Build almost nothing. The organizers propose a handful of temporary venues and four new permanent venues, some of which will be privately funded and each of which has a documented future use. The city has also dropped plans for a brand-new Olympic Village, instead proposing to house athletes in existing and already-planned dormitories at the University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles. All in all, the city projects the games will cost $5.3 billion—not even half the cost of Rio, and in a much more expensive place to build. Not quite an “austerity Olympics,” as the 1948 London Games were known, but a welcome rebuke to the bloated spectacles of the past. Only $1.2 billion is budgeted for infrastructure upgrades. That wouldn’t even cover one NFL stadium. And while every megaproject always features cost overruns, there’s not much “project” in the L.A. Olympic budget. Most of the money goes toward operations, technology, and workforce, with another $177 million for the opening and closing ceremonies.


. August 5, 2017 at 1:08 pm

This week’s IOC decision comes as Rio undergoes the traditional year-after Olympic check-in, with the usual results: The city and state are broke, the venues have been abandoned and the apartments remain unsold, and it’s hard to see any long-term benefits from the $13.1 billion investment. The Associated Press reports that the IOC has refused to help Rio pay off its creditors, after the Rio 2016 organizing committee attempted to do so with used air conditioning units, electrical cables, and other leftover games hardware. On Monday, the Rio de Janeiro State University announced it would suspend the start of the semester indefinitely because the state—which backed the organizing committee’s credit and is, along with the city, inheriting its debts—has no money to pay teachers and other employees.

. August 7, 2017 at 7:41 pm

The cost overruns on Russia’s World Cup stadiums are staggering

They have become a symbol of corruption under Putin’s rule

The problems echo those of the Winter Olympics that Russia hosted in 2014 in Sochi, the cost of which eventually exceeded 1.5tn roubles ($25bn). In 2015 the regional government of Krasnodar agreed to spend a further 3bn roubles to convert its Winter Olympic stadium into a football venue by removing the roof. The job was finished five months late, and although the stadium will host some World Cup matches, no home team has been found to play there afterwards.

. October 1, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Mr Moscatelli predicts it will eventually be abandoned, just like a plan to clean up Rio’s rubbish-filled Guanabara Bay that he helped the state develop in the lead-up to the 2016 Olympics. That was supposed to be one of the “positive legacies” that would help justify the cost of the games, now estimated to be more than $13bn. It never happened.


. October 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm

The IOC will no longer demand the construction of new sliding centres for luge and bobsleigh for future Olympics — apart from Beijing 2022 — as it looks to cut costs and make the Games more attractive to potential hosts.

“The same goes for the ski jumping. There is no need for further [new] ski jumping venues for the Olympics,” he said. “We have made good progress in this respect


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: