Is hosting the Olympics as good as it seems?

With Tokyo being an Olympics far from the norm, is being a host country as glorious as it seems?

white and blue round metal ornament on green grass field

Host country pride

group of men standing in podium holding flowers

Every country wants to host the Olympic games. Nothing beats a home crowd and the pride it brings; in some senses it unties the nation for the two weeks it is held.

What being a host nation means is that your country is in the media, in particular in the run up to the games. The host nation also gets to showcase the best their country has to offer, their heritage and future.

No one will forget the moment Sir Chris Hoy held the flag for Great Britain and led the athletes out to Heroes by David Bowie, all as the Queen watched on.

It is this sense of physically and metaphorically carrying the flag that brings so much joy to the athletes at the pinacol of their sport however, at what cost to the economy does it bring?

Money, Money, Money

You don’t need much common sense to know that the Olympics would cost a lot of money, but how much?

While Tokyo Olympics were budgeted to cost $7.3 billion, they have in fact cost closer to $30 billion.

London 2012 games ran over by nearly $4 billion and it is these financial increases that only first world countries can foot.

It is this substantial cost that comes with being a host nation that means that you will find that most countries host the games more than once within a century.

From the Great Britain in 1948 and 2012, Australia in 2000 and 2032, and USA in 2002 and 2028, it is the countries who have the strongest economies that can take the hit of hosting the games.

New infrastructure

women running on race track during daytime

One positive is that new infrastructure is built as a result of the games. While in London 2012, the main stadium was built in a more underdeveloped part of London, with the hope of developing the area for the future, not the same could be said for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

There was much criticism that not only would the infrastructure be finished in time for the games, but the cost was under much scrutiny, given then stark rich-poor divide the country experiences

However, this new infrastructure saw record high rates of tourism in 2016 to Brazil, with pay amongst all classes increases by as much as 29%.

What about Tokyo?

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For the nation of Japan, a country where pride is integral, hosting the games might have meant more than most. However, although the majority of their population didn’t want the Olympics to go ahead due to the pandemic, the games happened as normal. However, due to no spectators being allowed, what impact will this have on what these games could have achieved? Or will the curiosity of this country and culture, inspire people to visit and invest in the future?