The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Olympic conundrum

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:11 pm on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I have mentioned that PC is an Olympic junkie.  I love watching the Olympics…mainly the Winter Olympics.  Watching somebody shoot down a mountain at 70 mph is pretty exciting,  and watching somebody fly thru the air on skis or skates is pretty exhilarating too.  Watching somebody run in circles around a track?…not so much.  I do however love the gymnastics and some of the diving events.

What I dont understand is the clamor and love affair that cities have with HOSTING the olympics. For example:

there are 25 pictures in all.

I was stunned when I saw these before and after pictures of Beijing.  wow.

No city has ever made any money from HOSTING the olympics.  Local businesses may turn a profit. Hotels, motels, restaurants etc, but the city itself that has spent literally billions of dollars building venues to host this 2 week affair usually loses money…in spades.  And then they are stuck with huge venues that they built that are sitting empty and unused.

Think of all the different places we have had Winter and Summer Olympics just in  my lifetime. I am nearing my 50th year on this planet.  Divide that by 4 and you get about 12.  That is 12 different Winter and Summer Olympics that have been held in my lifetime.  At 24 different venues.  Just in my lifetime we have 12 EACH probably perfectly good venues to RE-host an Olympics and they will never be used as such.

Maybe I am missing something, but we seem to be kinda stupid.  Using an example that I can understand, its like spending a fortune building a top quality golf course, playing golf on it for one event, then letting the whole thing go to seed and be mostly abandoned for the rest of eternity.

I dont get it.  Any of you readers LIVE in an “olympic” city?  Do you use your venues?

Enquiring minds want to know!


Comment by Jen

July 10, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

Ah, grasshopper PC, I don’t live in an Olympic city, but I did live near ATL when it hosted the Summer Olympics in 1996. We DO still use the GA dome (for the Atlanta Falcons, which wasn’t built for the Olympics), and Turner Field (which was used for track and field in 1996 but condensed to use as the Atlanta Braves’ stadium). The swimming venues? Georgia Institute of Technology. Atlanta didn’t build much for the Olympics.I am encouraged that the facilities ( at least in the US) are being used!

Comment by chrissie

July 10, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

i don’t live there, but i know Calgary (Winter 1988) has become quite a training site for Canadian speedskating and ski jumping and i’ll guess luge and bobsled because of the facilities.

Comment by Jenny

July 10, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

I live in Atlanta and I confirm Jen’s comment. There are no empty Olympic venues here. Existing venues were used as much as possible – the UGA stadium was used for soccer (the infamous “hedges” had to be removed to meet field size regulations).

Even the dorms that were built for the athletes are now used by a university. That said, Atlanta had a plan from the beginning of what would happen to any newly built structures.

Comment by Eileen

July 11, 2012 @ 1:41 am

It’s a while back but Innsbruck and Cortina d’Ampezzo still use their facilites from their Winter Games (I live half way between them) and I think that most of the other European venues do too – but they have continuing World Cup competitions every year in many of the disciplines.

I agree though – I sat there going “Why do you want them?” as London were handed this lot. Look at the state Greece and Spain are in – and how much is due to the money spent by the governments setting the Games up? London got them on the back of their legacy for the future and that is already obviously meaningless. There is no increase in sport participation. Of course there isn’t, outside London noone has any benefit. And hotels for miles around London have priced themselves out of the market and now have special offers! In the UK you couldn’t get tickets for the events you wanted to see. You aren’t going to spend a fortune going to London and risk chaotic transport to sit in a hotel room to watch it on TV are you? You’ll stay at home if you are that interested and watch what you want to in comfort with a decent bar in the refrigerator – cheap! And if you are a foreigner you’d surely rather watch TV in your own language anyway.

Is anyone surprised everything is – yet again – overbudget? How do they never remember what happened last time? What makes them think they are not going to have the same problems? Nuts!

Comment by Maridyth

July 11, 2012 @ 5:20 am

I don’t live in a venue city. The pictures of the Beijing structures is just sad! Thanks for posting, because I love to see these kinds of things.

Comment by Chris

July 11, 2012 @ 10:01 am

I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. The venues that were built for the Olympics are very heavily used. While I agree that in the short term the city probably lost money, in the long term I think they probably end up making it back. The venues (here at least) are usually pretty busy because the city capitalized on having an Olympic quality structure they could make available to the public…for a fee of course.

Comment by Jade

July 11, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

The first ‘used’ venue I visited was the Seattle Space Needle from the World’s Fair in the mid 70s. The view over the city was wonderful, if just a little sad, as World Fairs go. There were exceptional levels of expectation as one might imagine the great European exhibition Halls, St. Louis and the ice cream cones, etc., but the grounds in Seattle were host to the wonderful and spring-like fragrance and colors of an azalea or rhododendron festival and differing international food vendors to choose for an afternoon meal. I wanted to see evidence of Seattle’s world standing, not merely an amusement park.

Comment by Sam

July 12, 2012 @ 11:02 am

Sydney, Australia, and yes! We do still use our venues.

Comment by gem

July 13, 2012 @ 10:27 am

In Vancouver, it was a real mix of established venues and new ones. The new ones are still very much being used.

As an aside, the outlying communities did very well by the Olympics. We have a townhouse at a very small ski resort which has a great mogul run — and close by there’s a terrific cross-country ski centre. The ski hill had about 10 different freestyle teams practicing prior to the Olympics bringing lots of $$ to the hill operators and the other businesses on the hill. The cross-country club had the Swedish team for two weeks prior — also a nice addition to the club’s coffers.

As the mom of then eight-year old daughter, I have to say that she was thrilled to watch the athletes practice and even meet some of them.

Comment by Nana

July 20, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

Los Angeles used the stadium (built for the 1932 Olympics) again when it hosted the Summer games. Yes, it was used in the meantime as well.

And Montreal used athletic dorm/apartments for housing

Comment by Viv

July 23, 2012 @ 12:26 am

I live near Melbourne, Australia. I know the olimpics were a long time ago, but we still use the lake (from the rowing) – a bid for world rowing champs is being put forward and the Olympic Equestrian ground still host massive national and international events. I’m not sure about our stadiums though…

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