Are The Olympics Worth The Cost?

So, what did you think about the Olympic Games that just ended in Japan on Sunday night? While on vacation, I watched the Olympians perform for hours on end at all times of the day. I really enjoyed viewing sports that I don’t follow on a regular basis and rooting for Team America. But there was a lot missing at this year’s Games, which was delayed one year by COVID.

What is the purpose of the Olympic Games? I’ll give you a few choices. Is it an opportunity to bring together sports people from around the world? Is it a contest between nations to collect the most medals? Is it an opportunity for the host country to show its stuff and to put on a great show? Is it an opportunity to reward the best athletes in the world? Is it a money-making moment for TV networks? Is it an opportunity for the host country to earn billions of dollars (or lose billions)?

It’s hard to believe that while millions are suffering and dying from COVID, millions are starving, millions are trapped in refugee camps and millions are sleeping in the streets we were cheering on swimmers trying to get from one end of a pool to the other in less than 60 seconds.

Is all the glitter worth the money spent? Is the world a better place now that the Olympics are over? Did relations between nations improved because of their participation in the Games? I don’t think so. Every day many of us watched to see how many medals American athletes had won versus our arch political enemies. Come on and admit it. Even if there were no Americans competing, didn’t you root for athletes from Great Britain and France over China and Russia?

And what about the decision to hold the Olympics? People are dying all over the world and Japan decided to create a super spreader community for the ages. Sure, they didn’t have many people watching events in person. But athletes from all over the world were panting and spewing spittle all over each other. It was a dangerous situation. I hope and pray that no one dies because of this grand sporting event.

Little has been said about the inability of sports fans to come to Japan. Reservations were made far in advance for travel, hotel and restaurants. I know people that are not being reimbursed. Millions of dollars, literally, are being stolen by suppliers in Japan. The true losses will ultimately be disclosed along with lawsuits to recover pre-payments.

The Olympics are good for those outstanding athletes that capture the most medals. But I bet no one who reads this blog can name more than four or five athletes who participated in the Games, even less if you exclude Simone Biles and the members of the US Basketball Team.

I attended the Rio Games five years ago. While there, I was shocked that the government of Brazil would spend billions on the event while their people were dying in the streets. Why would they build new stadiums in lieu of new housing? Where was the outrage? I expected to see Brazilians protest the Games and the amount of government funds being used to finance it. It didn’t happen.

Tokyo was next. I’ll bet the politicians rue the day that the country won the license to hold the 2020 Games. And it’s not over yet. The Japanese government will surely be roped into the controversy regarding the lost money by foreigners mentioned above.

In the future, the Games will only be approved if the bidders for the event are solvent countries that will be able to support the effort even if the Olympics lose money. Poor countries will not be bidding any longer.

The world population is either courageous for having the guts to hold the Games in spite of deteriorating economic conditions globally, regional wars, refugee problems and a pandemic that is threatening to kill off mankind, or we are all uncaring morons who don’t give a crap about the less fortunate.