Stick to one city for Summer/Winter Olympics

"The study found that every Summer and Winter Olympics from 1960 to 2016 experienced massive cost overruns averaging 156 percent, “the highest average cost overrun of any type of mega-project.”

These overruns are related to another resource that is inevitably squandered when the Games get moved around: human capital. The hard-earned expertise a city derives from hosting the Games — the knowledge its planners, contractors, technicians, security officials and armies of volunteers gain on the job — can’t be put to use again in the same way if that city won’t be hosting another Olympics four years later. Instead, another city gets to make the same rookie mistakes.

Then there are the insanely wasteful infrastructure projects that host cities typically build and that are often of little use after the Games leave town. The beautiful stadiums and training facilities that Athens constructed in 2004 have mostly sat idle since — though some of them now house refugees. The billions of dollars Greece borrowed to build these facilities helped tip the countryinto its current crushing financial crisis. Greece is so broke that the government has stopped paying for the training of its Olympic athletes.

All of this waste, risk and corruption is utterly unnecessary. The ancient Greeks held the Olympics in the same wooded sanctuary on the Peloponnese for a thousand years with no evident complaints in the extant literary record. We should do something similar for the modern Olympics: pick a city or country to be the permanent host — one each for the Summer and Winter Olympics.

Any number of places could do. But Greece is the obvious choice, at least for the Summer Olympics. It has an undeniable historical claim. It staged a well-run Olympics in 2004. The facilities it built wouldn’t be too costly to refurbish. And the extra tourism money that Greece would receive would help it pay off its debts — one reason International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has recently spoken favorably about the idea. "

By AFarooqui

I write about the dichotomies present in religion, gathered mostly from discussions with average Jews, Christians, Muslims and atheists.

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