the olympic aquatic centre abandoned greece olympics

The Curse of the Olympic Games for the host cities: The “white elephants”

Athens (2004), Berlin (1936), Beijing (2008), Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Winter Olympics of 1984) or Sochi (2014 Winter Olympics) or in a smaller degree Atlanta (1996) are just five recent examples of the Olympic Curse when the host city doesn’t have a plan of sustainable development of the Olympic facilities or even worst when a possible and well- designed plan  cannot take place after the games because of corruption or caused by financial breakdown.

The Olympics have evolved dramatically since the first modern games were held in 1896.  In the second half of the twentieth century, both the costs of hosting as well as the revenue produced by the spectacle grew rapidly, sparking controversy over the burdens being shouldered by host countries.

In Athens 12 years later, the Olympic  facilities stay abandoned and they there’s no similarity with 2004 Olympic’s flashing lights. Athens 2004 was a  big lesson of mismanagement—the Greek city is calculated to have spent around 5 percent of the nation’s entire GDP on the Games. Indeed, the $12 billion cost of hosting the Games contributed to the Greek economic collapse and left an abandoned Olympic Park, which has been overrun by weeds and graffiti artists. Montreal in 1976 was the Armageddon of how public money is wasted. After going 796 percent over budget, according to a Saïd Business School analysis, it took the Canadian city until 2006 to pay off the debt.

L.A. in 1984 and Barcelona in 1992 were the only successful Olympic host cities since so far. The 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles are the only games to have produced a surplus, in large part because the city was able to almost totally rely on already existing infrastructure. The Barcelona story is more complicated. The basic distinguishing element was that the city began to develop a plan for its renovation after Franco’s death in 1975. The plan had several components, including the opening of the city to the sea. Crucially, the plan existed before the bid to host the Olympics and the Olympics were fit into the plan, reversing the typical sequence. And similar to Los Angeles, a large majority of the sports venues in Barcelona were already built.

A major issue is the so-called “white elephants,” or expensive facilities that, because of their size or specialized nature, have limited post-Olympics use. These often impose costs for years to come. Sydney’s Olympic stadium now costs the city $30 million a year to support. Beijing’s famous “Bird’s Nest” stadium cost $460 million to build and $10 million a year to keep up, and sits unused. Almost all the facilities built for the 2004 Athens Olympics, whose costs contributed to the Greek debt crisis, are now derelict, leading many experts to conclude that the Olympics too often lead to wasteful spending on unnecessary infrastructure.

A growing number of economists argue that both the short- and long-term benefits of hosting the games are at best exaggerated and at worst nonexistent, leaving many host countries with large debts and maintenance liabilities. Instead, many argue, the bidding and selection process should be reformed to incentivize realistic budget planning, increase transparency, and promote sustainable investments that serve the public interest.

The cost of planning, hiring consultants, organizing events, and the necessary travel consistently falls between $50 million and $100 million. Tokyo spent as much as $150 million on its failed 2016 bid, and about half that much for its successful 2020 bid, while Toronto decided it could not afford the $60 million necessary for a 2024 bid.

Oct. 2, 2009: Rio de Janeiro beats out Chicago, Tokyo and Madrid to secure hosting rights for the 2016 Summer Olympics. It becomes the first South American city to win the honor in the process. Seven years later, nothing looks the same or will ever be the same again!

Brazil had gone from extraordinary economic growth in the mid-2000s to recession. Now it was in what would become the worst recession in a century, in part because of a massive corruption scandal at Petrobras, the national oil company.

Bloomberg reports that an essential part of Rio’s bid for the games was a promise to clean the bay, and in 2011 the state secured $452 million in international funding for the effort (that on top of almost $800 million, also from international sources, in the 1990s). But on the eve of the games, at most only half the sewage that flows toward Guanabara is treated. That’s the official estimate from the people who have failed to meet their stated goal of 80 percent. Others scoff and say the real number is more like 20 percent or 30 percent.

A body floats in the waters of Guanabara bay, a sailing venue for the 2016 Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro.
A body floats in the waters of Guanabara bay, a sailing venue for the 2016 Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, June 27, 2016. Recent tests revealed a veritable petri dish of pathogens in the Rio’s waters, from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to drug-resistant “super bacteria.” (Lalo de Almeida/The New York Times) Credit: New York Times / Redux / eyevine

Let’s see the degree of this Curse in pictures which speak for themselves very clearly

  • Athens 1896 and 2004
abandoned training field olympic greece athens
An abandoned training field at the Olympic Village. Photograph: Orestis Panagiotou/EPA
    • abandoned greece olympics beach volley field
      The abandoned beach volleyball venue in Neo Faliro. Photograph: Thanassis Stavrakis/AP
abandoned training pool athens olympics

An abandoned training pool for athletes at the Olympic Village. Photograph: Thanassis Stavrakis/AP
the olympic aquatic centre abandoned greece olympics
The Olympic Aquatic Centre. Photograph: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
10-years-since-athens-olympics
Abandoned training centre: Source/ Daily Mail

olympic games greece abandoned

  • Berlin 1936

 

1936-berlin-olympic-village
Source: Business Insider/ Twitter
dailymail 1936 swimming pool berlin olympics
Source: Dailymail

Abandoned Olympics BerlinAquaRings

  • Beijing 2008
The 2008 Beijing Olympics venue for the beach volleyball competition lies deserted and unmaintained in central Beijing
The 2008 Beijing Olympics venue for the beach volleyball competition lies deserted and unmaintained in central Beijing April 2, 2012. The gigantic infrastructures built for the Beijing Olympics, namely the National Stadium, better known as the “Bird’s Nest”, and the National Aquatics Center, better known as the “Water Cube”, are now used for cultural and sports events, reminding the world of the flare that blazed during the summer of 2008. However, some other Beijing Olympic venues, such as the rowing and kayaking centre, baseball arena and BMX track, have been left either deserted or been completely demolished. Picture taken April 2, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray
The deserted and unmaintained former venue for the kayaking competition of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, can be seen on the outskirts of Beijing
The deserted and unmaintained former venue for the kayaking competition of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, can be seen on the outskirts of Beijing March 27, 2012. The gigantic infrastructures built for the Beijing Olympics, namely the “Bird’s Nest”, and the National Aquatics Centre, also known as the “Water Cube”, are now used for cultural and sports events, reminding the world of the flare that blazed during the summer of 2008. However, some other Beijing Olympic venues, such as the rowing and kayaking centre, baseball arena and BMX track, have been left either deserted or been completely demolished. Picture taken March 27, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray
  • Beijing ruins 2008 Olympics
  • beijing abandoned olympic venues
    Source: BBC.com
  • Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics
  • Sochi 2014 abandoned Olympic Venues
  • sochi 2014 abandoned olympic venues
    Twitter Caption

    Fisht Stadium – built at a cost of £525 million – has been used twice only

Sarajevo (1984 Winter Olympics)

Rio de Janeiro 2016

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4 thoughts on “The Curse of the Olympic Games for the host cities: The “white elephants””

  1. Time is passing but human kind is going backwards day by day. When seeing the places where the first ancient Olympic games were played at Greece nearly 700 BC, the human kind seem obviously more civilized. They didn’t consume everything, didn’t destroy everything, even they left beauties behind them. Like in here:

    In today’s thanks to capitalism people spend millions and left behind them ghost cities! What a shame for human kind when thinking all hypocrisy when they are advertising these games!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment my earth friend. It’s such a shame that money from the contributor are being wasted in duch a way, why to build something that will not be used in the future? In the case of Sarajevo the war that came after could explain. But in Greece all the megalomania and grandiosity that contributed a lot in the current debt crisis which will never end… But in Los Angeles and Barcelona they had a plan, infrastructure that helped their cities to develop though. It depends the times. All the money given before by all cities to promote the Olympic Games , that’s a lot in the case of Istanbul, Tokyo. The Committee of the Olympics should review their spending and stop the link between more spending = sport. I think we run out of money my friend. Bilderberg Group has to decide differently 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, the capitalism uses and kills; in this time it uses and kills with sport. And, I didn’t know Bilderberg Group, when I have seen your comment I googled it with thinking who the f**k these bilderbergs:)) Yes, this is my extraterrestrial ignorance.:) But you can understand me my Earthling friend, there are so many secret groups on this planet, like illuminati, seven council, opus dei and the others. They are so many, I cannot reach their figures:) At the universe, there is not any secret group in any creature, only human kind has.

        Liked by 1 person

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