Rambling Roads: Early Olympic Thoughts

By George A. Hancock runnergah@comcast.net

This essay is about a year or so early. For several decades I’ve discussed the summer Olympic Games in this Rambling Roads essay. However, a recent Associated Press news account prompted this early essay.

AP writer Eddie Pells explained a recurring situation in the article “Revised L.A. budget nearly $7 billion.” Cost overruns irk many folks in the host nations. Perhaps, put more aptly, the Summer Olympic Game total cost upsets numerous individuals.

Do you recall the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games? Numerous issues plagued those multi-sport games. There were the Zika Virus issues. Safety was a huge concern due to the rampant crime in that city. Air and water pollution were major concerns for numerous athletes.

Plus, a large segment of the Rio de Janeiro public was opposed to the government spending their limited resources on anything to do with these Olympic Games. The concern raised was simply that few locals benefited from this spectacle. Yet, their monies were used financing various aspects associated with the 2016 Summer Games.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games are slated for Tokyo, Japan. Watch this situation closely. That recent AP report noted a cost overrun for these games. The 2020 Tokyo Games were originally budgeted at $7.3 billion. However, the cost package is now hovering at the $12.6 billion figure.

A story worth monitoring is the 2024 Paris, France Summer Games. The recent violent protest concerning the billions donated by private concerns to rebuild the Notre Dame cathedral is intriguing. There were no tax dollars involved here. These were private donations. Sure, these were substantial donations by wealthy individuals. Yet, a huge French population segment protested.

I wonder what happens with any cost overruns with these 2024 Summer Games. How long before protests mount over France hosting the games period? We live in difficult times.

The 2028 Summer Games are slated for Los Angeles, California. Pells’ AP news article stated “The price tag on the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics is now $6.88 billion, a $1.36 billion increase that comes mainly because of accounting measures designed to better reflect inflation over the long lead-up to those games.” Hmm, perhaps it’s too early for protest in LA or California.

The basic premise for the Olympic Games is superb. Athletes from across the globe competing against one another in friendly competition aimed at winning the Gold, Silver, or Bronze Olympic medal. And decades ago this gathering made sense.

I’ve discussed this point here on a regular basis. Every major sport has international competitions every year. These competitions are held across the globe in numerous locations.  Billions are not spend on venues, housing locations, or other items. Perhaps, that point is why protests, demonstrations are absent.

Economic gains from hosting these Summer Games are minimal to non-existent. Why hold the Olympic Games anymore? Are the Olympic Games really worth the money, planning, and headaches?

The current international athletic competitions are well attended. Athletes are given the chance at prime venues to showcase their skills. Medals are presented to the winners. The news coverage is there.

So why host, plan, or hold those expensive Olympic Games? Many of the former Olympic sites across the globe are decaying edifices. Google former Olympic sites or venues. The pictures are disturbing. The monies squandered are staggering. Most host Winter and Summer Olympic Game sites share this fate. Why?

Oh well. We move on chasing our summer dreams. June’s summer weather is perfect for daily road adventures. Get out and explore the roadside. The June colors are fantastic. Run well, run smart!

Categories: Features


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