Opinion: The Olympic Games are a waste of resources


Photo via The Olympics

Feb. 4 will yield the opening of the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Olympic Games are in desperate need of reworking. As it currently stands, the international sporting event is a waste of time and money, and ultimately has been causing more harm than good. With the Feb. 4 opening of the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, the data of the games show just how much of a waste of time and money the Olympic Games are.

For the past 60 years, the Olympics have always gone over the budgets set by the host cities, according to the Council of Foreign Relations, with countries spending billions of dollars to host the games. In fact, none of the Olympic games since 1960 have managed to stay below their projected budget, and at times, countries even end up blowing several times more money than what they had budgeted. Are people content with their tax dollars being used for such a waste? For the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia budgeted $12 billion, but spent around $50 billion, according to CNN. Because of this, the Olympics haven’t been profitable to host cities for a long time. 

In 1984, the Summer Games, a highly successful and profitable event, were held in Los Angeles. It spurred a time of fierce bidding competition between cities to host the Olympics, yet the Los Angeles Games’ success came from the failures of previous Olympics. When it came to bid for who would host the 1984 Olympics, Los Angeles was the only city to bid, giving it significant bargaining power to negotiate favorable terms with the International Olympic Committee. 

As the 1984 Olympics came to a close, Los Angeles would find itself with a profit of $223 million, according to the official Olympic Games website, making it the only city to turn a profit from hosting the Olympic Games. The games could be scaled back, and pre-existing facilities could be used, such as in the 1984 Los Angeles Games, but unfortunately, most cities aren’t willing to do such, preferring a bombastic presentation over managing costs.

The economy of cities isn’t the only thing suffering from the Olympics, as the environment is being damaged, too. In the 2016 Rio Games, despite using energy-efficient and low-carbon technologies, 17,000+ tons of waste were produced and 29,500 gigawatts of electricity were burned, according to GreenMatch, a website that researches green energy solutions.

Unfortunately, the pollution created and money spent on Olympic infrastructure isn’t even for long-term use either. After the Olympic Games, venues and stadiums will often see abandonment, leaving behind nothing but a man-made husk, taking up space as they break down. Many Olympic Villages become hauntingly eerie ghost towns, and only few cities, such as London, put their facilities to use after the Games.

It affects the average person, too, not just environmentalists and economists. The impoverished are removed from their homes, and the Games require public taxpayer money for new venues. Billions of tax dollars goes into the hosting of the Olympics, despite the fact those same tax dollars could be contributing to better projects, such as ending world hunger. According to Reliefweb, while estimates range quite a bit, it could potentially take less than $10 billion a year to end world hunger. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are said to have cost $15.4 billion, causing outrage from Japanese citizens while the country attempts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. That same money could’ve funded the construction of 1,200 Japanese elementary schools, according to U.S. News.

The Olympics are in desperate need of a reworking. As it is now, The Olympics are burdens to the economies of the cities that host the Games, leaving behind abandoned facilities that were once home to a glorious event. Once a wondrous celebration of sports and athletics, the Games cause more harm than good, and like the pollution they leave behind, the Olympic Games are a waste.