Hosting the Olympics costs an arm and a leg


Art by Mary Stauder

The Olympic Games are the pinnacle of the sports world. People from all over the globe descend on a host city every four years. The ability to host such a prestigious event is seen as an honor to many; however, the finances needed to host the Olympics can range to be billions of dollars. With the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo quickly approaching, many are asking if it is financially beneficial to host the Olympics? 

The modern Olympic Games got their start in 1896 in Athens, Greece. A mere 280 participants from 13 nations competed in the spectacle. With the rise of technology and improved transportation in recent years, the world has become more interconnected. An event like the Olympic games draws viewers from all over the world. To reach a global audience, host cities must update their infrastructure: roads, stadiums, transportation and so much more. These endeavors are a heavy burden for citizens living in a host city. The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro cost an astounding 13.2 billion dollars to host. The steep price included a 2.9 billion dollar subway line that was overbilled by 25 percent. Today, many of the venues are abandoned and in decay. The city is late in paying its workers, and crime is skyrocketing. 

Many economists that favor hosting the Olympic games point to the fact that this significant event would bring in revenue for the local economy and increase taxable transactions. According to Jennifer Wills of Investopedia, the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City only added 7,000 jobs, about 10 percent of what Olympic officials estimated. Many of the jobs created by the Olympics went to those who were already employed, which did not affect the number of unemployed workers. Also, the profits of the games are not felt by the local economy. Much of the profits go to international corporations with strong ties to the IOC or International Olympic Committee. 

The Olympic Games is a time to root for one’s country and watch the beauty of sport. Hosting the games may seem like an enticing proposition to many municipalities, but the overall cost may create a heavy burden for the local taxpayer with the level of infrastructure needed. The Olympic Games should be hosted by cities with pre existing infrastructure to limit the overall cost. The United States is home to world-class stadiums and houses the best technological resources worldwide. Who knows, the next Olympic Games could be housed right in your backyard.