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Is it worth the cost to host the Olympics?

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As in the daytime there is no star in the sky warmer and brighter than the sun, likewise there is no competition greater than the Olympic Games. But is it worth the cost to host them? Take note! 

From a quadrennial celebration of the springtime of humanity to interplay between countries, the Olympic Games are a wonderful metaphor for world cooperation. The brainchild of the Greeks, this quadrennial event is put together with zeal and excitement.

There is no denying the fact that putting up something as grand as the Olympic Games requires a lot of toil, planning and capital but as they say- no pain no gain. These games are not a new fangled idea but with time the projection of this idea has changed significantly!

I was flabbergasted when I came to know that the first modern Olympics of 1896 had a total expenditure of 37, 40,000 drachmas against the 24 billion Euros spent in the London Olympics 2012. Clearly, the countries do not hesitate while spending such hefty amounts on the Olympics. But, what makes these countries spend billions to put up the Olympic village?

Hosting the Olympics might call for a lot of resources and wealth but what it gives in return is immense. The excitement, glitz and glamour of the games attract tourists from all around the world substantially in the upper income group of tourists and sport lovers. The Olympic Games transform a city into a living postcard. Comprehensive publicity is the best promotion method to showcase the host nation internationally. The 2000 Sydney Olympics has been widely known as the best example of how the mega-sports event has benefited the tourism industry.

But it isn’t just the tourist who reaps all the benefits of the Games. Hosting nation will increase transport infrastructure and provide the best transport services for tourists which will continue to render services to the local people in the long run.

Billions of outlay in developing plans provides massive job opportunities. Billions of dollars are allocated for infrastructure development, construction of the Olympics Village, hotels and new complexes. The required construction specialty gives favourable condition to modernised construction industry and creates further opportunity for oversea expansion. The construction of Olympic sites provides new structure, new technologies and new materials that will boost the level of construction area.

History is evidence of the fact that Olympic Games not only popularise the hosting city, use sports as a medium to foster global relationships, generate employment but to my surprise it also fosters trade liberalisation.

In July 2001, Beijing was awarded the right to host the Games. Just two months later, China successfully concluded negotiations with WTO, thus formalising its commitment to trade liberalisation. Nor is this a one-off coincidence. Rome was awarded the 1960 games in 1955, the same year Italy started to move towards currency convertibility that led two years later to the Treaty of Rome.

However, the budgetary allocations incurred to host the games is beyond anyone’s imagination. An Oxford study established that average cost overruns in hosting the Games are 179 per cent in real terms: that’s significantly higher than overruns for other types of mega-projects. Montreal was the worst delinquent: its cost overruns were about 800 per cent! And in the case of the Delhi Commonwealth Games, the overruns were 36 times the budgeted cost: $9.2 billion, against an estimated $250 million.

With India sending 118 sportsman to the games this year, it is the inspiration of the Olympic Games that drives people not only to compete but to improve, and to bring lasting benefits to the city and to continue the legacy of the oldest yet the young games. Will India be able to host Olympics someday? Time will tell.

Feature Image Credits: rio2016.com.

Riya Chibber
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[email protected] ; An avid debater, singer and horoscope freak, she is an eccentric Aquarian who loves two things: food and sarcasm. Studying Journalism at Kamala Nehru College, her interest in political debates and international affairs is immense. A cricket lover, she thinks her rebellious modus operandi can change the world! You can reach her at [email protected]

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