Democracies abandon hosting of 2022 Olympics

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Good times in the ATL (AJC file photo)
Good times in the ATL (AJC file photo)

Good times in the ATL (AJC file photo)

Atlanta hosted the Summer Olympics less than 20 years ago.

Long before and after the Sept. 18, 1990, announcement awarding Atlanta the 1996 Olympic Games, it was stressed that hosting the global sporting competition would provide the city permanent benefits.

Turner Field, originally built as Centennial Olympic Stadium, will be abandoned by the Atlanta Braves in 2016. It may be destroyed soon afterwards.

Along with Centennial Olympic Park downtown, the baseball stadium is among the last vestiges of games.

Were the games worth it? I think most in Atlanta would say yes.

Centennial Olympic Park helped spur nearby development. The Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola and other tourist attractions now inhabit what was once the first public housing project in the U.S.

Atlanta universities use dorms originally built to house athletes and there’s a horse park in Conyers and a kayaking facility somewhere in Tennessee.

But, it now seems organizers in other cities and countries believe hosting the Winter Olympics costs a lot more than they are worth.

A Business Insider article I read today calls bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics a “disaster.”

The article points out every non-communist nation once in the skiing … err … running … has dropped out.

Krakow, Munich, and St. Moritz all withdrew their bids after a public vote. Stockholm and Oslo withdrew bids while citing cost concerns.

Currently, only China and Kazakhstan want to host the Winter Games in 2022. China you probably know about, but the former Soviet republic has not had a real election in a long time.

The Atlantic asks the obvious: What if democracies refuse to pay for the Olympics again? 

The Atlantic also points out the World Cup will be held in Qatar in 2022, “The Year of the Authoritarian Host Country.”

The Business Insider article features pictures of Sochi, Russia, that look like a ghost town. Earlier this year, Sochi hosted the 2014 Winter Games at a cost of $51 billion, making it the most expensive Olympics in history. The previous record was held by another communist country, China, which spent $44 billion to host the 2008 Summer Games.

The cost to host the 1996 games in Atlanta? About $1.8 billion, and the games were not publicly financed.

Business Insider says “democracies, are no longer buying the economic benefit argument” of hosting the Olympics and published pictures of abandoned sports facilities.

Stockholm, in dropping out of the 2022 Winter Games, says being a host requires building venues no one wants to use when the games leave town.

As someone who witnessed the $22 million Stone Mountain Tennis Center decline even more rapidly than the speed of his serve, I can understand.

More interesting news I found today:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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