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The Pros and Cons of Hosting the Olympic Games

Feb 26, 2023 | 0 comments

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Feb 26, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

Ever since the first event of the modern game took place in 1896, Olympics have developed radically. The cost of hosting Olympics as compared to the revenue the event has raised in the past second half of the 20th century has intensively grown leading to the controversy of the liability it has to the host countries (McBride, 2018). According to Robinson et al (2018), many economist are of the view that both the long-term as well as the short-term profits of hosting the Olympics has turned to be at best inflated and at worst fictional this leaves the nation that host Olympic with huge debts as well as upkeep liabilities .besides this there is a larger portion of economist who argue that there should be a reform in the Olympics committees more so in the areas of selection and bidding to incentivize the budget that is reasonable as well as increase transparency and enhance sustainable investments which cater for the interest of the public (McBride, 2018).

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It is the full responsibility of the host nation to cater for the cost of hosting Olympics. This is usually an additional cost to the initial budget. From the year 1968 to 2010 the average cost of hosting a summer Olympics is approximately 252% and the winter Olympics at 135%. This expense poses a direct financial strain to the host cities considering Quebec citizens are still paying around $17 million for an Olympic stadium that was developed without a roof 42 years back (Clift & Manley, 2018).

Pettinger (2017) indicated the fact that the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics underlined the debate that has been ongoing over the benefits as well as the cost of hosting the Olympics. Clift and Manley (2018) also observed that one year after the Olympics the city that hosted the event is still struggling with the debt it incurred, the abandoned facilities, increase the crime rate, maintenance cost and public service which is poorly equipped. This is a wakeup call for future cities which plan to bid on the event they either narrow down on their plans or just withdraw the bids (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2006).

Hosting Olympics comes with the burden of the residents as they are likely to be evicted to create more room for infrastructure (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2006). According to the United States (2018), this happened in Beijing as over 1.5 million residents were forcefully evicted from their homes with inadequate compensation as they watched their neighbourhood being destroyed while they looked at where to relocate in other cities. This is also affirmed by Clift and Manley (2018), by giving the example of the case of Rio de Janeiro where the residence was also forcefully evicted, this was messy as there was a bloody confrontation between the police and the residents. Besides forceful eviction, the local population are often put into economic strain for instance in the case of Brazil Olympics where there was no effective private and public participation in the organization of the Olympics and at the end of it putting the burden to the taxpayers (McBride, 2018).

The forceful eviction of the local population as earlier mentioned amounts to human rights violation (Shaw, 2008).The local resident’s properties were destroyed, some were beaten by the police while trying to control the protest. According to Robinson et al (2018), in addition to this considering the LGBT rights issues that emerged in the 2014 winter games in Sochi it clearly gives the indication of determined human rights violation which often accompanies the mega events like Olympics (the United States, 2018), it is ironical that Olympic is viewed as an event where diversity and unity is enhanced but the issues of human rights violation that surrounds it clouds the harmony and the overall goal of the event.

Another core challenge is infrastructure, infrastructure is good for the economy and is one of the key indicators of economic growth, it increases tourism, enhances trade and easier access to social amenities, however it comes with a greater cost and this is a problem more so when the infrastructure is later left idle after the Olympics (Robinson et al, 2018) , nevertheless some cities like Barcelona, really utilized the infrastructure other countries have fallen back and the infrastructures which cost taxpayers a lot of money is now a white elephant, for instance, Beijing, Vancouver, Montreal, Athens and Sydney have had venue failures after the Olympics as most of the infrastructure have been abandoned (McBride, 2018). The stadiums continue to be destroyed from wear and tear and disuse have been left. White elephants remain to be a memory of the fact that mega-events like Olympics sometimes is not worth the cost. It ends up that most infrastructure are abandoned, some filled with dirty water and graffiti and with the high maintenance cost.

Based on this fact the PyeongChang stadium which cost approximately $78 million was to be demolition before the start of winter Olympics in 2018, in addition to this the Sydney Olympic stadium is set to be demolished in 2019 in favor of a smaller stadium which would be easier to maintained and which can be fully utilized (Clift & Manley, 2018). According to Robinson et al (2018), the maintenance cost of bird’s nest stadium in Beijing cost approximately $11 million per year, considering the stadium has a capacity of ninety-one thousands and it’s not fully used. Another example is Rio de Janeiro athlete’s village which cost the city $700 million which was converted into a luxury apartment during the period of Olympics and now it is shuttered and empty as it failed to attract any buyer (Pettinger, 2017).

According to Pettinger (2017), there is also an aspect of fear as well as security that comes with hosting Olympics, the projects that would support the event is often under strict surveillance for instance, in 2012 the London event led to the emergence of defensible architecture which restrained the activities as well as the access of locals who were deemed as undesirable. This affected skateboarders, the homeless as well as the protesters.

The London’s Strand East community was idealized and created by Vastin Holding to make a residential development for the 2012 Olympics. According to Clift and Manley (2018), this is a common attribute for the Olympics as the city propensity towards “enclave living.” This simply means the high-security presence will protect the rich and those who are capable of investing in the property and at the same time reject those they see unfit or a potential threat to the security as well as the safety of the residence (McBride, 2018). Such problems have led to the splintering of the urban space as those that lack means to engage with the economy are always stigmatized.

The Olympic event also poses a threat or a negative effect on the environment. The number of tourist and participant who attend the function usually put a strain on the existing infrastructure including schools and other social amenities, as a result of this, there is often too much littering, too much noise, air pollution through an increase in the number of people that smoke among others (Shaw, 2008).

Finally, hosting Olympic creates a fascination about the host country, it creates an environment for positive rebranding to the host nation to gain prestige internationally (Robinson et al, 2018). However, this can also draw unnecessary or ill-informed bad press as well as attention. McBride (2018) was at the opinion that the host nation can always deal with the cases of human rights violation but when it comes to the economic and political concerns that are linked to the organizations that are associated with the program like the international Olympic committee it will be extremely difficult to avoid for instance the political scandals that have surrounded the reputation of sporting organization like IAAF and FIFA.

In conclusion, while hosting Olympics have a positive impact on the economy, opens the host to major investments, infrastructural improvement and also put the host nation in the limelight. this often comes with a burden and higher maintenance cost that the investment made is never justified more so considering the countries mentioned above who are struggling even after having host Olympics, Greece being one of them. While the host benefits from a large number of tourist this does not necessarily reflect the level of employment that the event is projected to create. Though it creates employment, it’s the type of jobs that can never be sustained after the event, therefore, the local’s lives remain the same after the event and considering the forceful eviction there is less to smile for. This conversation should continue so that the committee in charge, as well as all the stakeholders, can find a balance in ensuring that the hosting nation benefits in the event and most importantly the citizens so that the event be regarded as a blessings rather than as a plague which violates human rights and brings with it economic pain for the locals.


Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (2006). Impact of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games on the Vancouver and Sea-toSky housing markets. Ottawa: CMHC.

Clift, B. C., & Manley, A. (2018, September 19). Five reasons why your city won’t want to host the Olympic Games. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/five-reasons-why-your-city-wont-want-to-host-the-olympic-games-52289

McBride, J. (2018, January). The Economics of Hosting the Olympic Games. Retrieved from https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/economics-hosting-olympic-games

Pettinger, T. (2017, January). Advantages of hosting a major event. Retrieved from https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/4909/economics/advantages-of-hosting-a-major-event/

Robinson, T., da Silva, C., Garnet, R., & Patreze, N. (2018). RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES AND THE SOCIAL IMPACTS OF MEGA EVENTS: A QUALITATIVE STUDY. Retrieved from https://seer.ufmg.br/index.php/licere/article/viewFile/9632/7505

Shaw, C. A. (2008). Five ring circus: Myths and realities of the Olympic games. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.

The United States. (2008). The impact of the 2008 Olympic Games on human rights and the rule of law in China: Hearing before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, One Hundred Tenth Congress, second session, February 27, 2008. Washington: U.S. G.P.O.

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