Olympics, Redux – “Part of the reason that people get grumpy about the games is inflated expectations: the Olympics are always mis-sold.”

“Part of the reason that people get grumpy about the games is inflated expectations: the Olympics are always mis-sold. First, host governments say that the economic benefits of the games will greatly outweigh their costs. Second, they claim that the games will inspire people to exercise more. Third, they predict intangible benefits from being in the global spotlight for a couple of weeks. The first two claims are rubbish; the third does not apply to London.” [Nor did it to Vancouver. -ed.]
– from ‘Rewards of the rings’, The Economist, 21 Jul 2012

13 responses to “Olympics, Redux – “Part of the reason that people get grumpy about the games is inflated expectations: the Olympics are always mis-sold.”

  1. Carioca Canuck

    I agree……..especially in regards to the “perceived” economic benefits, many of which are grossly over inflated and/or outright lies, versus the eventualy long term debt that the host city has to end up talking on going forward.

    I live in both Calgary and Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, which as you know has just been “awarded” (I love that fictitious term for being named the top city with the biggest pockets that was able to pay off the corrupt IOC officials) the 2016 summer games. Rio will show the world what your post really means as they will get the Gold medal in the event called “Corruption and Economic Entitlement thru socialisation of losses”……………

  2. Everyone loves a sporting festival… But some festivals are more ‘sporting’ than others.

    • Jingoism at its finest.

    • [BloomBerg] – [ShedsWithBeds!] East End Has Thousands in Illegal Squalor Near Olympics

      “Five thousand meters from London’s gleaming, white-spoked Olympic Stadium — a 3.1-mile distance that games organizer and gold medalist Sebastian Coe once ran in 14 minutes and 6 seconds — Christine Lyons has ferreted out a modern-day scene evocative of Victorian England.

      In a side street with cracked, weedy paving covered in litter and rubble, just past an old stable, she knocks at a whitewashed shed built of bricks. A Hungarian couple in their 20s open the door to the single room they rent for 155 pounds ($240) a week. There’s barely space to walk around a bed, a chair, a table, a bicycle, a rack covered with drying clothes and a sink on the wall. A bathroom is closed off in a corner. A bare light bulb hangs in the middle of the ceiling.

      “This was built as a store to put things in, not somewhere to live,” says Lyons, 45, the chief planning enforcer of the London borough of Newham, host of the Olympics. The shed was improperly built and lacks insulation, she says. The owners have been sent a warning letter that they may be cited for violating planning laws. The maximum fine is 20,000 pounds, Lyons says.

      Armed with a thermal map produced by a flyover in March, Lyons is searching for unlawful “sheds with beds,” as the borough council calls them. There are as many as 10,000 outbuildings where people may live illegally in the 14-square- mile East End district, she says. Raids have found as many as four people sleeping in a single backyard shed and sharing a filthy shower and toilet that aren’t always properly connected to the sewage system.”…


    • [Reuters/Opinion] – Who’d Want to Host The Olympics?

      …”…as Wednesday’s woeful economic data confirmed Britain’s slide into a double-dip recession, it’s worth questioning whether hosting the Olympics is worth the $14.5 billion cost. In strict financial terms none ever actually make money. Some host cities have turned profits since Los Angeles was the first to do so in 1984, escaping the crippling public debt incurred by cities like Montreal and Vancouver. But, as a recent report by Goldman Sachs points out, “most countries … have treated the cost of constructing facilities and infrastructure, together with security and other ancillary costs, as being separate from the cost of running the Games themselves.”

      In other words, it’s possible to declare an operating profit while incurring huge losses on major expenditures that may not be recovered for decades. Beijing trumpeted a $171 million profit made on operating costs, while neglecting to mention the $40 billion-dollar infrastructure buildup it made ahead of the 2008 Games. The $5 billion to $6 billion the London Olympics earn will not even begin to cover the cost of infrastructure and security alone. Even if it did, half of revenue is split among International Olympic Committee members.”…


  3. How many people actually decide to visit, move, or invest in a place, just because at some point it hosted the Olympics? Anyway, there’s an Olympics every other year, in a different location each time. It’s a roving spotlight.

  4. The Olympics scam…where do I start? The most annoying thing for me is having some media cartel attempt to push this ridiculously vapid jock-fest as some sort of communal religious experience…. “Do you BELIEVE?”

    No, I don’t. Now slag off…..


    • My sentiments exactly, kabloona. The whole thing is such a crock. What gets me too is all the exaggerated, hand-on-heart nationalism.

    • Renters Revenge

      And what’s with this medal count thing? Why does that matter? Is Canada any better off for having won X number of medals in 2010?

      • And it’s even sillier when you see Russia, China, North Korea, and others whose athletics programs are granted massive state subsidies. International prowess at the expense of the people.

  5. Forget parting with my money; you couldn’t pay me to attend the Olympics in London. Art and architecture are my two hobbies, and never before have I seen so much ugliness at such a high price tag. The stuff is so ugly and offensive that I’m starting to believe the conspiracy theorists have a point. . .

  6. I didn’t mind the Olympics. However, I’m in peak physical condition, so it was refreshing to see other beautiful, passionate people gathering in town. 😉

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