Now that plans for the new Olympic Stadium in Japan have come in at a $2.1 BILLION Dollars the uproar has begun and Japanese officials are feeling much of the heat.
There are a significant group of people in Boston who are either dead set against hosting the 2024 Olympics or caught up in the traffic from their protests. A leader of one of the groups opposing Bostons' bid to be a host city, Robin Jacks of NO Boston 2024, has stated that their goal is to "make us as unfriendly and unpalatable to the IOC as possible", and that "I want the IOC to be like, I hate those people". Some are concerned about local taxes being used for international events while others are standing against "displacement and oppression of marginalized communities", but it's safe to say this won't be the end of the protests and it's also not the beginning. From Sydney to London many have taken up the banner against the torch.
Part of the unease with Olympic aspirations are the huge costs involved. Russia is said to have spent $51 Billion for the winter Olympics in Sochi and Vancouver spent another $40 Billion for their games. London spent over $10 Billion and is still spending as many of the buildings are being downsized and repurposed for life after the Olympics. They are showing a profit of over $80 Million at this point.. Beijing is reported to be $146 million in the black although it took an initial investment of over $44 Billion to get there. They still have many abandoned venues but at least they have ended up with the Happy Magic Water Park. But not all Olympic cities are that lucky. Turin spent $3 Billion and ended up losing about $3 Million while Athens accrued $14 billion in debt spurring, some say, many of the problems they face today.
Maybe Athens, the birthplace of the Olympics and a place where many venues now stand idle, would be a suitable spot as a permanent Olympics site?
Maybe if they had a national 'job' things could take a turn. They could be like a destination wedding throwing a huge party across the white isles of the Mediteranean every four years.
But they would have to rise to the task. Over the course of recent history, when the Greek economy was growing faster than almost all other European countries, so were their liabilities. Then when the global recession hit, they were saddled with costs that far exceeded their income, causing them to borrow more. And more.
Greece received a $110 Billion Euro bailout in 2010, along with additional funds since then, in exchange for certain austerity measures, and although some have taken effect, many are still being sorted out and renegotiated but they cover everything from retirement ages to cuts in pensions. Despite meeting many of the demands for the first few years the Greeks have of late, not only fallen short of expectations, they have also begun to resist Eurozone demands and elected a government that would stand against such strict austerity. Now it appears the countries have avoided a stalemate. Greece it appears will remain part of the European Union.
But Greece is not out of the woods yet. The new Syriza Government faces other problems. Roughly 2.6 million pensioners and a workforce of only 4.4 million in an overall population of 11.2 million. Add that to a robust black market, which may exceed 24% of the GDP, really high unemployment, and a high rate of companies going bankrupt. They're also up against an estimated rate of tax evasion that is estimated to cost them over twenty billion Euros a year. The Greeks have appointed Panagiotis Nikoloudis, an expert on economic crimes and supreme court prosecutor, to confront that problem and in a recent address to parliment, Nikoloudis denounced the "handful of families who think that the state and public service exists to service their own interests.", so, I guess we're not the only country with that problem.
Maybe it's time to begin moving toward the "Grolympics"? Other countries could still host the games but wouldn't have to refashion the wheel every time.
(Article changed on July 17, 2015 at 20:31)