Thursday, May 25, 2017

Yet again, a post-Olympic Games hangover for the host city


It seems that, yet again, hosting the Olympic Games has turned into a financial nightmare after the event was over.

There were 27 world records set at the Rio Olympics last year – from swimming to weightlifting, archery to cycling. These were as thrilling as they were expected. “Citius, Altius, Fortius,” is the Olympic model after all – Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”

Now comes perhaps the most enduring world record of the Games: Just seven months after the torch was doused, the host country is already acknowledging the entire operation was a terrible, perhaps criminal idea. It has left them debt-ridden and without a clue what to do with already decaying facilities.

Never faster has been the condemnation for hosting. Never higher has been the local outrage. And, maybe, never stronger is the lesson for the rest of the world to avoid ever getting into business with the International Olympic Committee.

“There was no planning,” Leandro Mitidieri, a federal prosecutor in Brazil, said this week at a public hearing about the Olympic disaster, according to the Associated Press. “There was no planning when they put out the bid to host the Games. No planning.”

And what of the majority of the facilities the country built to appease the IOC, a major part of the $12 billion cost of hosting the Games?

“They are white elephants today,” Mitidieri said.

Seven months. That’s all it took and, actually, it didn’t even really take that long. Mitidieri began looking into corruption involving the host last year, before the Olympics even happened. That he found a dumpster fire is of little surprise to anyone who cared to pay attention or attend the Games.

There's more at the link.

Considering the history of most cities that have hosted the Olympic Games over the past few decades, one wonders why no-one in Brazil drew the obvious conclusions, and withdrew their bid before it was too late.  Now they're stuck with the bills . . .

Peter

14 comments:

CDH said...

Has a summer Olympics in modern times NOT had this hangover? I can't think of one, from Atlanta on forward. Usually the justification is along the lines of 'the increase in tourism made up for the expense' but I don't believe I have ever seen an accounting proving such.

Freddo said...

The nomenklatura don't care about any financial losses. For them it is a great opportunity for graft, nepotism and various cushy jobs/perks, and tax payers will foot the bill.
From smaller projects like a sports stadium or a theater to mega projects like highspeed rail or olympic events, the financial projections never work out, but some people still do very well.

Glen said...

Vanity is the most insidious of sins, for individuals, businesses or governments. It is also very difficult to avoid. Thank Heaven no Texas city has ever been selected. We screwed ourselves badly enough back in 1968 (HemisFair).

genericviews said...

The people who are pushing Olympic bids think they will be in on the ground floor of the corruption. Taxpayers always get stuck with the bills. Connected insiders get the profits. It's the Olympics way. And no matter who wins, the Olympics committee members get fat off the process. It is sad that any modern country would put up with it. It is obvious why third world countries would do it. Last I heard on this subject, there were only two countries remaining who could afford this level of waste and corruption, US and Russia.

Mark Matis said...

If Rio hadn't gotten the games, they would have gone to the Windy Shitty instead, and WE would be paying for the rampant fraud and corruption associated therewith.

Congratulations, Brazil, and thanks for being stupid suckers! P.T. Barnum loves you.

Rick T said...

The LA 84 Games ended up with a final surplus, but I don't think they had to do much more than build some bleachers (Lake Castaic) or freshen up a a few locations.

Building everything is a mug's game. The Chinese did it for the prestige value so cost wasn't an issue, plus how are you going to get true numbers from the Party?

It can be done, but not in a 3rd-world kleptocracy.

Jonathan H said...

I am glad that (so far) Chicago and LA have lost their perennials applications tpo host future Olympics; if it came back to the US, the city would take credit for it but you can be sure they would stick the rest of the country with at least a chunk of the bills somehow...

ColoComment said...

Has any other city / state REJECTED the Games after having been chosen? Note: what this article fails to mention is that Dick Lamm was a DEMOCRAT. ...back when Democrats had some economic smarts and integrity. ...long ago.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/31291/no-thanks-why-denver-turned-down-1976-olympics

Timbo said...

A permanent site in Greece in the shadow of Mount Olympus. Everyone who participates chip in for the running expenses. TV rights pay the majority and the UN administer the finances. OK I threw that last bit in for giggles.

Unknown said...

@Rick, I live in the LA area (and was here in 84), there was a lot of money spent on it, and quite a bit of money lost.

It didn't make much press, in part because this is LA, so the losses and corruption didn't show up as obviously, and this was pre-Internet so the only places to get the news was the mainstream press.

David Lang

Feather Blade said...

One would think, after so many examples of how to not do it, cities would go into a bid with plans in place for what to do with the Olympic venues after the games.

Or that cities that already had the infrastructure within a reasonable driving distance would put in bids.

Mark Matis said...

The games are awarded, Feather Blade, to the entity that puts the most money into the right pockets. Do you STILL not understand how international sports work???

And it ain't just the Olympics...

Paul Rain said...

Lots of prestige up to and over the games.

Little oversight of finances leading up to the games, unless you're in a country like Brazil that is so utterly corrupt that noticing it is unavoidable.

This is why universal suffrage elections of media-endorsed candidates every four years does not, and cannot, work.

Kona Commuter said...

When the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia "won" the rights to the Commonwealth Games I let out an expletive. Rate / taxpayers on the hook for the largesse's of corrupt oligarchy. Recently it came to light that some guy holding a volunteer position with the Olympics was on $800k p.a. Corrupt Delete repeated word corrupt

May they hang from lamp posts in the near future