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article imageOp-Ed: Permanent venue for the Olympics? Benefits and setbacks

By Ron Jayson Timbang     Sep 8, 2013 in Sports
With the venue for the Olympic Games 2020 finally decided, Nate Berg of The Atlantic Cities analyzes the disadvantages of hosting the Olympics and how having a fixed venue can benefit participating countries.
It is official now that Tokyo will be hosting the Olympic Games in 2020, as the city won the vote of the International Olympic Committee which decided on the venue last Saturday in Buenos Aires, choosing among Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul.
But what if there will be a single venue for the Olympics after 2020? Would it be beneficial for every country involved?
Berg cites how Montreal and Greece both suffered from cost overruns due to high expense associated with hosting the Olympics. “The evidence is far from murky. Montreal famously took 30 years to pay off its swollen $1.6 billion Olympic price tag,” wrote Berg. “And in 2004, cost overruns helped lead to Greece’s economic collapse.” Moreover, thousands of people are being displaced in Brazil in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
In his article, Berg has featured the point of view of John Rennie Short, a University of Maryland public policy professor. Short’s idea is to build a permanent venue for the Olympics (an Olympics island), which will function more or less like an international city-state. The island will be overseen by the United Nations.
For Short, this will be more economical than building huge infrastructures in host cities every Olympics event. “It’s billions upon billions,” Short estimates. More importantly, people who are often affected whenever their city is hosting the Olympics will be spared from the misfortunes that come with the event. “The poor get screwed to host the Olympic Games, because they often get displaced,” Short says. “Up to half a million people were displaced for the Beijing Olympics. Why do we keep doing that when we could find a place that doesn’t require any displacement?”
Coming up with a permanent venue for one of the greatest sporting events in the world really promises huge benefits not only for the residents of a particular city but also to the country’s budget. Imagine if a permanent venue is agreed upon by the Olympics committee? That island will be filled with astounding structures that will surely put more excitement to the event. Huge money can be allotted for the construction, and it will not be a waste of resource because it will be used again years after. With a permanent venue for the Olympics, there will be less people badly affected and less budget used. Thus, coming up with an Olympics island is definitely not a bad idea.
Nonetheless, I believe there are some setbacks with this plan. First of all, the Olympics is an event that gives the host city a chance to showcase its country’s culture and heritage, which I consider one of the main goals of the event. Each host city in the past has given a good sense of personalization to every Olympics event. Thus, the audience has been able to learn several facts about a certain city/country and has been given the chance to witness different customs and traditions.
Whether or not a permanent venue can be set for the Olympics, I hope that the essence of showcasing a country’s uniqueness will not be gone. Instead, it should be emphasized more in every Olympics event. If this will not be overlooked, it wouldn’t matter for me whether there will be one island dedicated to hosting the Olympics or different cities will serve as host for every Olympics event.
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
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