Olympic hosting: Success or scam for world’s cities?

Jacob Steinberg, Sports Columnist

As the 2018 Winter Olympics continue, the world has come together to cheer on their home countries.

No matter which country one is from, everyone can be amazed at the skill, passion, and dedication these athletes put into their sport, even if they fall short of the gold medal.

Hosting the Olympic Games is a dream for most countries. It is a chance to show the world what your country is all about and draw tourists in from around the world. It sounds like a profitable investment that will help your city and country for a long time. However, there is little to no evidence that supports these claims.

Many countries who have the honor of hosting the Olympics spend billions on new infrastructure and stadiums for the games.

According to a New York Times article, Rio de Janeiro, the host city of the 2016 Summer Olympics, spent nearly $12 billion to host the games. To make things even worse, the country was in an economic recession at the time. The workers who built the attractions were left unpaid.

The Rio Olympics were supposed to be the start of a new era in Brazil. It was supposed to be a symbol of a country that was ready to show itself to the world as a future superpower. Instead, it left the city in shambles, and the Olympic Park is a center for widespread vandalism and looting.

A year and a half after the games, the stadiums are in a state of disrepair, and Brazil faces an economic crisis.

As Brazil gets poorer and poorer, the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, is expected to cost nearly $10 billion. The city leaders hope the games will lead to more foreign tourists.

However, the Gangwon province, where Pyeongchang is located, is one of the poorest provinces in South Korea. The province wants the government to help maintain four venues that will be used during the games.

However, the South Korean government is not willing to do so because it did not help the other South Korean cities that had financial difficulties after major sporting events. If the national government of South Korea does not help the province of Gangwon, there will be an $8.5 billion deficit, which may be even larger, according to the Associated Press.

That would not only be a burden for the Gangwon province, but for the government of South Korea, which is aging rapidly, has a widening rich-poor gap, and high elderly poverty rate, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

For people who think the glory of the Olympic games will bring revenue to your city and country, think again. It is very rare that a profit ever occurs. The City of Los Angeles is scheduled to host the 2028 Summer Olympics. Whether it makes a profit will be unknown for the next 10 years, but the privilege of hosting the Olympics is not as glorious as it may seem.