The Olympic Games create historical memories, writing the world’s best athletes into sports folklore.
But after the final ceremony, when the athletes have left and people flock to their outbound flights, what’s left for the host?
Oftentimes the economic demands of the Olympics are too high for less developed countries. As Rio de Janeiro prepares for the 2016 summer Olympics, there are multiple obstacles facing the nation that may take decades to repair.
Currently, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is in the midst of an impeachment challenge, the country faces its worst recession in over a century and to top it off, the Zika virus has become widespread.
All the while, the reckless spending on the Olympics has only contributed negatively to these issues.
To host the world’s largest athletic event, countries have to invest large pools of money into infrastructure like roads, stadiums and airports. Not only is this spending supposed to show the emergence of a nation as an economic power, but also to increase a country’s prosperity.
But that expenditure is rarely put to good use after the Olympics. In countries around the world, unused Olympic stadiums look like ruins from the past.
Each host builds beautiful buildings, yet when the two weeks are done, countries have no idea how to fill them. Now, they serve as a source of constant anger.
For example, of the over two dozen arenas built for Athens, many are completely unused. The massive stadiums are now covered with graffiti. When Greece plunged into a deep economic recession, many blamed the government’s poor foresight in prioritizing Olympic spending over other public programs.
When the infrastructure is only worth its cost for a few weeks and the national pride wears off, the country’s citizens have a tough time justifying the economic loss.
From the looks of it, Brazil is already on the way to regretting their bid to be the Olympic host. While Brazil could very well end up being a successful Olympics, history shows that they’re on the way to joining the trend of developing countries focusing their spending on unneeded stadiums and short-term fame rather than long term benefits for their people, leaving more problems than answers.
For countries that are unable to bear the brunt of the Olympic aftermath, it’s worth asking if the price tag is worth the publicity, leaving more problems than answers.
Joseph is The Journal’s Sports Editor. He’s a fourth-year History major.
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