Most likely, by the time you will have read this post, the Olympics will have ended. The Olympic flame will have burned out and we will have to wait another four years for the next Winter Olympics. However, next Summer Olympics are being held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
Let’s be honest. Despite all the excitement, patriotism and awesome physical feats, the price tag associated with the Olympics is pretty darn high. Wait, that seems like an understatement. The price tag for the Olympics is astronomically high, especially with the latest one in Sochi. These Olympics cost a cool $51 billion.
$51 billion. WOW.
The 2014 Winter Olympics are the most expensive Olympics in history. Not too far behind though are the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China. It cost the country $44 billion to host these games. It almost seems that while there is a budget proposed for the Olympics, the reality of the costs doesn’t seem to sink in until after the games. It’s all glitz, glam, no guts, no glory. Let’s make this a memorable event that people will be talking about for years. It’s like the country is having an over the top wedding and elite athletes are invited to take part in the festivities while the rest of the world is watching.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a party pooper. I enjoyed watching the opening ceremonies (although I always find them quite long, like the Oscars or the Grammys). I get excited when someone from Team Canada wins a medal. I enjoyed watching the speed skaters race around the track, the snowboarders hit the half-pipe and the downhill skiers hit the slopes. I especially enjoyed watching Canada beat the US in men’s AND women’s hockey. No offense to our great neighbours to the south, but hockey is OUR GAME. J
I just think that the financial side of the Olympics isn’t as carefully monitored as it should be.
While it is a hefty price tag to pay, so many countries join the line in the bid to host the games. Some have done it more than once and will make a bid to do it again. Possible reasons could be to bring more tourism to their country and provide a reason to improve its existing infrastructure. It is a long drawn out process to design and build the facilities that will host the events. Let’s not forget the accommodations needed for the athletes, coaches, media and spectators.
While many games have produced a profit from the Olympics, there are some cities that have wound up with a deficit that has taken many years to pay off. And some host cities only break even. When you think about how much time, money, resources and effort goes into the Olympics, that same time, money, resources and effort spent could have been used to help improve things such as health care, education and poverty
Speaking of costs, what about the Olympic athletes themselves? Unless you’re in a popular professional sport such as hockey or basketball, you won’t be making millions. According to Moneyramblings.com: “Olympic athletes do earn a small stipend ($200-$2,000), and many of your expenses are reimbursed such as travel, hotels, and training camps. Your clothes will also be provided by the official sponsor: Hudson Bay Company in Canada.”
While many countries give a cash incentive if the athlete brings home a medal, it’s still not enough to make a living. It’s the sponsorships that help bring in the big bucks. Have you noticed when watching commercials that almost all the athletes featured are high performing, famous ones that have won medals in the Olympics or world championships? They are the ones that people remember and will recognize. I am well aware that ALL athletes train extremely hard, (The amount of hours they train in a day is more than I do in a week!!) make many sacrifices and are very dedicated to their sport, but unfortunately nobody remembers who came in 10th, 15th or 20th place.
It’s amazing how sometimes hundredths of a point, second or a metre can determine the difference between first and second place or the difference between taking the last spot on the podium and not making it to the podium at all.
Is it fair for professional athletes to compete alongside with amateur athletes in the Olympics? Do you believe too much money is spent on hosting the Olympics?