Are Olympic cities better or worse after the games?

Posted August 29, 2016

The Olympics has brought increased transformation to Rio de Janiero, Brazil, but whether that is good or bad has yet to be seen (Deseret Photo)

The Olympics has brought increased transformation to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which was made up of swamps and farmland less than 50 years ago.

According to the Guardian, the Olympics has brought stadiums, roads and electric facilities to a city that was already beginning to grow, rapidly increasing the city's progress.

One Rio landowner who has invested in a few Olympic projects even said that the changes brought by the games has helped the city develop by leaps and bounds.

“The most difficult part of the development plan was the service infrastructure, and the Olympics has brought that. It’s a billion-dollar jump,” Carlos Carvalho told The Guardian.

But, will these changes last?

According to FiveThirtyEight, many cities that host the Olympics tend to spend much more money on the project than what they will eventually get in return. And not only that, but they also end up spending more money than they originally planned.

“For a city and nation to decide to stage the Olympics Games is to decide to take on one of the most costly and financially most risky type of megaproject[s] that exists,” Bent Flyvbjerg of the University of Oxford said about his research of Olympic budgets to Five Thirty Eight.

To come to this conclusion, Flyvbjerg and his team analyzed the costs of each of the Olympic Games over the past few years and compared them to the costs of other major metropolitan improvements in the area, such as bridges, railroads and dams.

The researchers found that preparing for the Olympics caused many of the cities chosen for the games to overrun their budget, compared to the other projects they researched, which mostly came in under budget.

So is it a good investment to host the Olympic Games? Sure, the highly anticipated weeks-long event brings national news coverage to the host city to watch athletes push their limits and break world records, but the results aren't always rosy.

Citing some of the difficulty Rio has had this year fighting a Zika outbreak and keeping their pools from turning green, Mark Sappenfield of The Christian Science Monitor wrote, "Rio has shown, in more crystalline clarity than any Games before, the reasons why hosting the Olympic Games is becoming an increasingly uninviting prospect."

Take a look below at the Olympic venues throughout the years. Many cities have been able to make use of the sites, but not all have been kept in good condition.

1936 Berlin, Germany

World War II, which started just two years later, left the Berlin Olympic Games in ruins. "All attempts to renovate it have so far failed," noted the Daily Mail.

1956 Melbourne, Australia

Part of the Melbourne Olympic Games became the National Sports Museum pictured below. Melbourne Park and Olympic Park are now the Melbourne & Olympic Parks, and the grounds are still famous for hosting various sporting events.

1972 Munich, Germany

Tourists can still visit this Olympic site. Today, though, it's the site of the massacre that occurred during the games. Nine Israeli athletes were killed, according to The New York Times.

1976 Montreal, Canada

As you can tell from the photo displayed below, the stadium in Montreal is now a skater's dream. The stadium used to be home to the Montreal Expos, Canada's former professional baseball team, but has now become a "concrete wasteland," according to the National Post.

1984 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

This Winter Olympic site was abandoned after the games. The neglect came as a result of the "breakup of former Yugoslavia."

1984 Los Angeles, US

The LA Coliseum still hosts sporting events, and the facility could be home to the 2024 Olympic Games.

1988 Calgary, Canada

The Canada Olympic Park is still used today for summer and winter activities. The facilities are owned by WinSport, or the Winter Sports Institute, and functions as a training site for athletes of all ages and skill levels.

1988 Seoul, South Korea

The Olympic stadium in Seoul is a major tourist spot. Sporting events are still hosted there, and it's a popular concert venue in Asia.

1992, Albertville, France

What do you expect from an Olympic site located in the South of France? The stadium still looks stunning, and you can visit it today.

1992 Barcelona, Spain

Spain is already rich in history. Visitors can tour the monuments known as the Olympic Ring.

1994 Lillehammer, Norway

The Lillehammer Olympic Park is set to host the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics. The city's efforts to maintain the site "played a crucial role in bringing the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games to the Norwegian city," according to the official Olympics website.

1996 Atlanta, US

Atlanta's Olympic stadium is known as Turner Field. It was built to become the home of the Atlanta Braves after the games ended. Since the major league baseball team is moving out this year though, the stadium will soon disappear.

1998 Nagano, Japan

Nagano residents have put the Olympic venues to good use throughout the years following the games. Pictured below is a public ice rink that was part of the competitions.

2000 Sydney, Australia

The Sydney Olympic Park is known for providing entertainment to Aussies and tourists that visit the country. The Sydney Royal Easter Show is a family-friendly event held at the park each year. The livestock were once pet by royal visitors.

2002 Salt Lake City, US

The Olympic venues in Utah are up and running. Visitors can participate in outdoor and indoor activities depending on the weather.

2004, 1896 Athens, Greece

The motherland of the Olympic Games appears to be deserted, but a purchased ticket can get you into the Panathenaic stadium.

2008 Turin, Italy

The Olympic venues in Turin still host sporting events, but the Olympic village where the athletes lived during their stay are now home to refugees.

2012 London, UK

The London stadium is located in Queen Elizabeth's Olympic Park — and it is quite queenly. Visitors gather to enjoy arts and cultural festivities, and the Olympic venues still provide a place for sports teams to play.

2014 Sochi, Russia

The stadium in Sochi is abandoned. HowTheyKnow reported that it still stands because President Putin wants to welcome international events there in the future.

Ivelliam Ceballo is an intern for the Deseret News National Edition. Email: Twitter: @IvyCeballo


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