The start of the 2016 Olympic Games is upon us and Rio officials are clamoring to complete venues and athletic dormitories. Some have called the Olympic Village uninhabitable with water damaged rooms, faulty wiring, and power outages, though athletes have moved in regardless. In addition, the ramp at the sailing venue was destroyed by rogue 10-foot waves and the overall budget has swelled to record levels.
With these facts readily apparent, and with the burdening cost of each successive Olympics, more and more cities, government officials, and the general population are starting to wonder whether hosting the Olympic Games is worth the cost and effort. Most cities simply do not have the infrastructure required to withstand the two-week influx of athletes, coaches, fans, and media members. The money required to build state-of-the-art athletic facilities is soaring, and academic research suggests that spending billions on a two-week event is not a wise investment.
Furthermore, many multi-million-dollar Olympic venues go unused after the Games and become dilapidated, overgrown eyesores in as little as 10 years after the crowds and athletes have left. This is all too evident at Olympics sites around the world.
Of course, the reasons this happens are specific to each country. Sarajevo, for example, suffered from a gruesome war that caused the 1984 Winter Olympic venues to crumble. However, this is seldom the case and once the Olympic and government officials have pocketed the money, the venues are left to decay and the people of the host cities are left holding the bill.
Will Rio follow a similar path?
By Dr. Vincent K. Ramsey
Dr. Vincent K. Ramsey, is the Chair of Sports Exercise Science at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.