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Why Cities Don't Need the Olympics

Mary Jander, Managing Editor, Future Cities
Thursday, February 13, 2014 10:00 EST

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mejiac
mejiac  
2/28/2014 5:00:24 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Secondary Motive
@stotheco,

I guess when Sochi thought of hosting the Olympics, it didn't think things would work out the way they did.

For many countries, this is more about getting on the radar.

The Panamarican Games are also an event that many smaller countrier compete to host. In the Dominican Republic, this actually was beneficial, since many infrastructure projects got actually finished, and it actually left many positive things (the olympic stadium, which was in ruins, is know the host of many events through out the year...many roads are better then ever, and the villas that were built for the athletes got repurposed for low income housing).

 

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juegos_Panamericanos_de_2003

stotheco
stotheco  
2/24/2014 12:48:41 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Secondary Motive
Thanks for the link, Mary. It's a huge disappointment to read about this kind of thing happening. I expected more of them but I guess where money is concerned, corruption is inevitable. Just think of all the negative press Sochi has gotten because of the Olympics (starting with the shooting and killing of strays!) It's not a place I would want to visit in the near future (or probably, ever.)

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
2/21/2014 1:51:46 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Ugh, Super Bowl
Amy, I am fully on board!

<salutes you with one hand, grabs Swiffer WetJet with the other>

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
2/21/2014 1:46:37 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Ugh, Super Bowl
Are you with me, Nicole? Your choice! 

<brandishes mop and dustcloth>

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
2/21/2014 1:45:27 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Ugh, Super Bowl
Yup, @The5thHorseman, you've really dug down deep into the costs behind landing the Olympics. I guess one could argue there is an unquantifiable marketing or publicity boost: look at little old Lake Placid, NY, still skating by (sorry) on its Olympics credentials 30-odd years later. But there's a dark side even to that: Atlanta's Games are forever marred by the bombing that took place there. 

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
2/18/2014 9:52:08 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Secondary Motive
Sadly, stotheco, it does look like there are questions about the honesty of the whole Sochi plan, as this recent article suggests.

Seems there was certainly more than sport in mind on the Russian end of things.

stotheco
stotheco  
2/17/2014 9:44:37 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Secondary Motive
You would think something as big an organization as the Olympics would be at least immune from corruption, green, and the usual dirty politics that riddle a lot of decisions. Unfortunately, some of these recent choices prove otherwise.

stotheco
stotheco  
2/17/2014 9:43:53 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Maybe it's about sport too?
Sports of course, should be given emphasis as well as that's what the Olympics is all about. However, take note that it's not only sports or facilities that plays a factor or that should be considered a factor. Have you noticed how there has been so much coverage on Sochi alone as a venue or their policies (killing stray dogs, for instance) aside from the sporting events?

The location, at this point, has taken away attention from the sporting events.

andylake
andylake  
2/14/2014 5:35:15 PM
User Rank Village Voice
Re: Maybe it's about sport too?
I'm not sure it's possible to generalise like that, Nicole.

For Lillehammer or Calgary or Grenoble or Nagano to host the winter Olympics, I don't think you can say it comes down just to money and prestige. Not sure what's wrong with the prestige, btw.

Then again it can be different for different cities - Atlanta's motivation had a lot to do with regeneration, which is also in part the case for London.

But I think whatever else it is, it's also always about the sport. Athletics federations and all the other national sporting bodies pull out all the stops when they go for a bid.

As someone lucky enough to attend the Olympics in Beijing, I have to say the people there seemed captivated by the whole process, and were – still are – immensely proud of what their country managed to pull off.

And there are other social impacts that have value. I remember a crowd of more than 50,000 staying right to the end of the evening session when all the highest profile events had finished, to cheer, as one, Yelena Isinbayeva, competing against herself to break the world record in the women's pole vault. It's great to be part of an international crowd who forget nationalism and cheer someone pushing herself to success. And when a couple of Moroccan students got a whole section of the mostly Chinese crowd to cheer for the struggling Moroccan athlete who was coming in last. I doubt if most of the crowd knew where Morocco is, or knew much about athletics for that matter. But there was warmth across international boundaries, and a lot of barriers broken down through unprecedented contact with so many foreigners.

There were also huge leaps forward in provision for people with disabilities, actively promoted by the government. There's a fair amount of self-critiquing still going on about opportunities and provision for the disabled. The Paralympics had a huge impact there, and London took that forward again.

What price can be put on these kinds of impacts?

I may be naïve, but I think a lot of the critiquing of big sporting events misses the genuine human value of such occasions, and I would hope that many other cities around the world have the courage to bid in future.

Looking forward to the World Cup in Russia in 2018 now :-)

 

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
2/14/2014 12:02:23 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Secondary Motive
Rob, well said re: the difference between Sochi and Rio hosting versus Barcelona and Vancouver. I completely agree that neither Sochi nor Rio had any business hosting or even bidding, really.

If anyone's interested, we hosted a radio show on this subject some months ago -- discussing the benefits/drawbacks of hosting the Olympics... this show focused quite a bit on London.

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