The High Price of the Olympic Games

The tally for the summer Olympics in Rio is going to be over four billion dollars. Four billion! While that might seem like a massive price, it’s actually a modest one. To compare it to the last Olympics held, the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia, it’s a drop in the bucket. The winter games held two years ago cost a staggering 51 billion dollars, so the price tag of the Rio Olympics is humble. Which would be okay if the country wasn’t in a massive recession.

The Olympics cost money. A lot of money. So much money, in fact, many countries have withdrawn their future bids, citing cost as the main reason for turning away the chance to host the games. The games require a massive amount of spending in infrastructure, investments in buildings that have little to no use past the games themselves. I was going to link a bunch of photos with cute little captions, but here’s a whole album of derelict Olympic facilities you can peruse.

That would probably be the biggest problem a lot of people have with the Olympic games; it’s really damn expensive. And the countries hosting the games don’t always have the extra cash to splurge on a three-week party that celebrates amateur sports. The issue with the Olympic games isn’t the doping scandals or the water quality or the possibility of disease breaking out, it’s the Olympic bidding has become an episode of keeping up with the Jones’.

The games, both winter and summer, promise to be the best Olympics ever. Every host city plans to have a better Olympics than the previous Olympics. The opening ceremony is getting more extravagant, the facilities are boasting better additions. How can this be fair to countries without the GDP of places like the United States or Russia or China? How the hell was a country like Brazil supposed to compete with a country like the United Kindom, which was the last place to host the summer games?

It couldn’t. If you’re wondering why you’re hearing stories of polluted water, poor facilities and issues of security, it’s because the Brazilian government bit off more than it could chew. It’s not Brazil’s fault either. The bidding started back in 2007 for these games, and then the world was rocked by the 2008 recession. Even though the country seemingly bounced back in record time, the country has slowly been dipping down again for the last several years. Slow worldwide economic growth has stunted the Brazilian markets.No one could have predicted the state of affairs in Brazil that long ago.

The International Olympic Committee, also known as the IOC, had a number of bids in place from cities all around the world. Madrid was one, Chicago was another, and there was also Tokyo in the mix. Spain hosted the summer games in 1992 in Barcelona, The US had the games recently in Atlanta, and Tokyo Japan was home to the summer games in 1964. Brazil, let alone the entire South Americas had yet to host the games. It was the perfect opportunity for Rio de Janeiro to throw their hat into the mix. Why wouldn’t the IOC have Rio host the games? They bounced back from the 2008 recession like the rubber from a rubber tree, which is indigenous to Brazil. Here, I found a graph and now I’m going to show you that the IOC wasn’t crazy for picking Rio.

Brazil-GDPMassive crash at the tail end of 2008, better than ever in six months. ¹

It’s really unfortunate that Brazil has been suffering economically for the last couple of years, but how could the games be moved? We’re talking about plans that had been laid out for almost a decade. It’s a billion dollar event the entire world has it’s eyes on. It’s a shame some of the facilities aren’t up to snuff and the country is reeling from a massive recession, but the only thing you can really do is shrug your shoulders and hope that the games go well. And so far, the games haven’t broken down into complete chaos. The last thing we need to see is the Olympic Games turning into the Hunger Games.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Man, does the Olympics have anything nice to say about itself? Tune in Wednesday!

p.s.s. I missed a couple posts. I was out camping. Yes, I absolutely hate camping, so you’ll be hearing about that soon enough.

¹ Graph taken from




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