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Decision-Making in Hosting the Olympic Games

Autor:   •  December 5, 2017  •  1,201 Words (5 Pages)  •  212 Views

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New bustling shops, condominiums, and restaurants and parks characterize the site of the 2012 London Olympic games. If there weren’t pictures to prove it, one wouldn’t believe that less than a decade earlier that part of town was a place no one, even the people who lived there wanted to go. Some parts of East London were in fact literal dumping grounds. And now, in exact opposite fashion, the once shiny state of the art facilities of the 2004 Athens Olympics and Mediterranean facing promenade have fallen to ruins. Expensive to build, but then even more expensive to maintain, now sadly, these facilities have become the dumping grounds for the city.

Now, while crossing the street in Athens you better beware. Automobiles are unlikely to stop and even if they do, you need to watch out for people on scooters and motorcycles in-between traffic, rushing to get ahead of the next vehicle. A resident of Athens would have to tell you whether this is how the city was before they won the Olympic bid, but one thing is for sure, with a crushing debt approaching twice GDP (Eurostat), the Olympic fever has worn off.

We have data, and science, and so many things that help us make unbiased decisions, yet sometimes people simply use those tools to justify the biases they hold. The difference between the Athens and London games is that while Athens spent their planning muscle and budget on making the games a great spectacle, London created a comprehensive plan that fit the goal of hosting a successful games within the much grander goal of improving the city and community. This led London to accurately estimate use for the facilities, revenues and costs, and plan accordingly whereas after the games, Athens was left with numerous venues and locales that could not be maintained or utilized by the local people. And while no one asserts that the Athens Olympics caused Greeks economic decline, they do assert that it signaled the return of a culture of unchecked spending, perhaps in the name of national pride.

If this is the legacy of hosting Olympic games, then what city would want to host? Out of necessity, the IOC has drafted a new framework for Olympic host cities that emphasizes post games planning with smaller investments leading to neutral or positive economic impact. Still only the host cities and their regional and national governments have the ability to enforce new policies, and as our GST showed in living color, to do so they will best be served by being wary of the Olympic fever.






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