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The Olympics: are they a waste of resources?

August 12th, 2008 · Greg Atkinson · No Comments

I do enjoy watching the Olympics from time to time, but I cannot help but think of all the money and resources that are needed to host the games in the modern era and question if these should have been directed elsewhere.

It seems twisted to me that we see such wonderful architecture on display at the Olympic venues around Beijing for example, in a country where hundreds of children were killed because of substandard construction at schools. Perhaps a little more effort in protecting children would have been better than a new aquatic centre?

But it is not just the Chinese of course who seem to have spending priority issues. Just think of the money spent on the Sydney Olympics and yet Sydney has a dreadful public transportation system and NSW has shockingly bad public hospitals. Perhaps rather than try and better the previous host city to earn Olympic bragging rights, we should think about people a little more. We have an Australian Institute of Sport and numerous other facilities with multi-million dollar annual budgets, but where are the multi-million dollar government facilities dedicated to excellence in aged care?

Of course people will say that the Olympics give the economy a boost, but so will any major spend on infrastructure and besides, the Olympics are not a great long term investment as you end up with facilities that not really needed after the closing ceremony.

In any case the Olympics are no longer a noble event, they are big business where many of the competitors are well paid professionals. Even worse they are becoming the stage for countries to compete with one another with ever increasing amounts spent on preparing teams.

It all seems like a lot of money to waste for commercial sports carnival.

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