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article imageOp-Ed: Pros and cons of the same city holding the Olympics

By Eileen Kersey     Sep 9, 2013 in Sports
The Olympics are a global sporting affair and countries vie hard to host the games but would it be so bad if the same city, and country, always played host?
Saturday Madrid was stunned into silence after Spain failed to secure the 2020 Olympics. Instead Tokyo, in Japan, was selected as the venue for the 2020 games.
It is Tokyo's second-time at being the Olympic host city and the people were over-the-moon. News broadcasters footage of the jubilant group of people who had launched the bid was in stark contrast to the silence in Madrid.
With global economics in the doldrums, and the cost of hosting Olympic events staggering, maybe it is time to weigh up the pros and cons of the same city playing host each year.
Pros and Cons
The first obvious con is favoritism. Which city would be selected? Who would decide? Who would pay the costs? One concern could be instability. If the permanent host nation faced a civil war, revolution or ultimately was led by a despot what would happen? However, surely there are many "what ifs" and a get-out-clause could be written into any agreement.
The obvious choice of venue is Athens in Greece, the home of the Olympics. Greece however is in the economic doldrums and there is no sign of an improvement any time soon.
If one city hosted the games that country could not be expected to carry the burden of the cost. However there is something to be said for the effect the Olympics can have on tourism. Weighing up costs against an influx of visitors, clutching money to spend, is tricky.
In the past assessing whether or not it was profitable to host the "games" meant including the expense of building an Olympic village. Use the same city each year and the Olympic village is already there. It may need revamping or modernizing occasionally but not re-building.
Constructing a brand new Olympic village offers employment, which can be a bonus for a host nation but more often than not the costs rapidly escalate.
London 2012
London played host to the Olympics in 2012, at a huge cost. Politicians tried to spin the games as good news in spite of the staggering total, final cost.
In January 2012 the mail online reported that the expected cost of London 2012 was spiraling out of control. The report continued:
The predicted cost of the games when London won the bid in 2005 was £2.37billion. That figure has now spiraled to more than £12billion and could reach as much as £24billion, a Sky Sports investigation claims.
The Olympics public sector funding package, which covers the building of the venues, security and policing, was upped to around £9.3bn in 2007.
In the end the cost according to the BBC was less than expected.
The combined budget for the two events was £9.29bn, but the cost has been revised to £8.77bn.
It is an increase in savings of £151m since the last update in October, with a drop in policing and other security, transport and construction expenses.
Still a huge sum of money.
Why not give Athens the job of hosting the Olympics on a permanent basis?
A good solution could be allowing Greece to become the home of the Olympics. It would return the games to their roots. No more costly Olympic bids by countries hoping to host the games and no more expensive Olympic committees with jobs for the boys, or girls.
All competing nations would have to work together and reach an agreement on sharing the costs. The boost in tourism would benefit Greece and cash-strapped parts of Europe.
Once the Olympic village was built it would only require maintenance costs. In fact Greece could probably utilize its old, now decaying, 2004 Olympic village.
The first modern-day Olympics were held in Athens in 1896. Following those games some people asked that Athens became the permanent home of the Olympics but Paris was already scheduled to hold the 1900 Paris games.
The rest as they say is history.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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