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Hosting the Olympics too costly for everyone but the Politicians

By Mike Fak(18,246) Mike Fak

Posted Tuesday, April 01, 2008
View All Blog Posts submitted by Mike Fak

As the Beijing China 2008 edition of the Olympics gets closer, more and more stories show why hosting these alleged non-political sports games aren’t a good idea for anyone but the politicians and architects.

In China, a country that believes image is more important than anything else; leaders continue to tarnish their already dull reflection. There are beatings and arrests as they struggle to keep dissidents from Tibet from marching for their human rights. CNN recently aired a piece showing how millions of residents were simply kicked out of their homes to make way for costly buildings, visitor’s hotels or just another parking lot. These people were not relocated. They were simply put out on the streets with orders to evacuate the new “Olympic Village" before the westerners start coming. China doesn’t appreciate the coverage. In the case of one elder gentleman, he watched as his ramshackle apartment of the last seventy years was bull dozed away. I’m sure he is excited about the Olympics coming to his city.

As the torch begins its travels to the games this summer, famed ex athletes are refusing to take their turn with the torch to protest China’s failures to have even a semblance of human rights in their country. To top it all off, European leaders are now starting to take a pass on coming to the games and there is concerns that once the games begin, there might be more protests and thus violence by the Chinese government who won’t allow the basic freedom of the press in their country.

Yeh, the Olympics are real non-political sporting events aren’t they.

One has to ask how it came to be that this country that has no concerns for its people, global warming, the world economy or anything else that doesn’t return an investment directly to them was given these games in the first place. Non political games? I doubt it.

The Olympics has turned into nothing more than a glorious dog and pony show proffered to the country that pays the most and has little to do with the original sporting concept that made these games so popular just a few decades ago.

The costs of hosting these games is enormous but still politicians grab for these worm in an apple sporting events like they are the grand culmination of their city’s history. There is little thought to the incredible costs that preparing for the Olympics place on a country. Billions of dollars are spent on buildings that have limited purpose all the while funding for basic human services go unheeded and under funded.

Citizens in those cities are met with heavy traffic congestion as sections of their neighborhoods are torn down and replaced all just for a few week’s of arguably limited interest. And yet, cities like San Francisco and Chicago spend millions trying to convince the Olympic Committee to give them the venue approval for the next time the world’s athletes come together to play games.

And as the western cities line up to get their chance at “showcasing" their culture, they show strategies of how neighborhoods will be razed for buildings and how security will be beefed up into the billion dollar range to protect visitors and we are told how important this total infringement on our daily lives for several years is good for the image of our city.

And then we have to decide if China is becoming more and more like us or if we are becoming more and more like them.

This Blog Post has been read 243 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Tuesday, April 01, 2008
View other posts by Mike Fak

Comments on this blog post:

Ian Trumbull from Portland Maine: (60 days 14 hours ago.)
I think You're confusing multiple issues here. While the human rights record in China is indeed sorely lacking, it has (or should have) little to do with the Olympics themselves. To exclude China from consideration of hosting the Olympics would be far more political than allowing them to compete for the games through the same process that all possible hosts must participate in. In point of fact, western nations have been far more guilty in the past of imposing political overtones on the Olympices than others (such as the politically motivated boycott and tensions associated with the 1984 summer games.)

Additionally, you seem to be disregarding the positive aspects that historically come along with hosting the Olympics. Millions of people spend a great deal of money in the host city as a direct result of the games. As far as the "total disrution" caused by the Olympics, again I disagree. Unlike China, when American cities raze areas for olympics related construction, these areas are often ones that have been earmarked by these cities for "renewal" for a long time. In short, cities are determined to abolish these "eyesores" and if not for the games would find another (perhaps even more flimsy)excuse. It should also be noted, that buildings and facilities built for Olympic use often become valuable civic facilities (and sources of income) in their post games' existance.

In short, I feel you've either ignored the benefits that come with hosting the games while at the same time greatly overstating the potential drawbacks of same...

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