Sunday, February 23, 2014


Crow and I are assuming the most recent Olympic Games have now ended and once again we've been shaking our heads. It's no secret the International Olympic Committee is riddled with elitism, arrogance, bribery and worse. With this in mind it becomes much more understandable that when a city is 'gifted' the 'opportunity' of the Olympics that the amount of money required to put on a good show for the world would be staggering.

Overspending on the Olympics can do real economic harm to national economies and has little impact on the quality of the competition. Montreal spent 30 years paying off its debt from hosting the 1976 Summer Olympics. Greece spent $16 billion on the 2004 games in Athens, piling up debts that contributed to the collapse of its economy six years later, even as Olympic venues rotted in disuse.

Russia has spent about $50 billion to build a ski resort from scratch in Sochi: not just trails and snow-making machines, but also roads, rail links, hotels, even a power plant. It’s an amazing  achievement, not least because the Winter Games are less than a third the size of the Summer Games, and London spent only about $14.5 billion in 2012.

Cost of Sochi games: $51 Billion dollars. Cost of putting the Curiosity Rover on Mars: $2.6 Billion.

Solution: put the Olympics on Olympus Mons.

Seriously, it's well past time to build permanent facilities for the Summer and Winter Games. Olympia in Greece, which hosted the games for almost 12 centuries from 776 BC, is often proposed for the Summer Games (the Greek government offered 1,250 acres near Olympia in 1980). The Winter Games could take place in Japan or, perhaps, Switzerland. At fixed locations, the investment in state-of-the-art facilities would make financial sense. The venues could be carved out on neutral soil, much like the United Nations in New York, and operated using revenue from tickets, TV rights and merchandise.

Whatever solution is used is less important than that enduring sites be chosen and that the selection game be stopped.

Maybe next time we'll talk about how much it costs to build five separate stadiums to host the World Cup.


marja-leena said...

Oh, we were saying this very thing while watching the closing ceremonies this morning!

Crow looks happy on his skis! Maybe Crow could head the committee for permanent sites - Greece of course, and one for the Winter Games (where there is still snow to be found).

susan said...

Yes, Marja-Leena, it has all become far too much. It would make so much more sense for the games to be hosted some place where the facilities could be looked after and improved when necessary.

I'm sure Crow would be happy to volunteer his opinions :)

linda said...

That's an amazing amount of money! I knew Russia had spent billions but... I've thought for a long time they should settle on the same places, otherwise it's just politics. And lots of money! This one was so boring I didn't watch them except the figure skating and that wasn't any good either. The coverage was abominable as well, excepting weir who at least entertains but...stopped working here so hitting publish QUICK!

Should Fish More said...

Maybe back when they started the Olympics in the 'modern era' this would be possible. It's now gone way past the original purpose, a venue for the best 'amateur' athletes compete in an event. It's seen as a way to showcase your country, or political system, to prove yourself to the rest of the world.

What makes sense to us has little to do with how anything is done on a large scale. When was the last time that foreign or domestic policy was based on what would work? When was the last time that our decisions were based on what would work best for the majority, or not damage the minority?

Sorry to be the pesimist here, it's a great idea and logical. It would be rejected out of hand by the selection board because of other considerations.

Tom said...

Now I have no wish to say very much, in fact I'm only here to indicate I have read your submission. I think that perhaps the idea of placing the Winter Games on Olympus Mons comes closer to my ideas than any other expressed thus far. All right, let me out with it! Let's send the Olympics, (winter and summer games) and the World Football Cup, together with all the official governing bodies, the sporting drug pushers, trainers and above all the self-seeking, glory-hunting athletes themselves, to the other end of the cosmos. In that way we can take "one small step" at least away from the current idolisation of Youth, and all its offshoots.

Now I know I'm suggesting only a mild, interim measure; that's because I don't like extreme solutions. So the "giant step for mankind" will have to await its turn.

susan said...

It's a shocking amount of money but kickbacks and chicanery are the major business practices in operation these days. The last Olympics I recall watching was the 1980 Winter Games in Lake Placid when the US team won the gold over Russia. That was fun but even then my watching had much to do with the fact I was recovering from pneumonia and had no strength to move.

See you later.

susan said...

I don't expect anything (anywhere, anytime) to change just because Crow and I grumble, but the whole thing has become insane. The last time I read about that serious talk was happening in regard to permanent Olympic facilities was in a NYT article from 1984 about a bill submitted by then senator, Bill Bradley. Don't get me started about 'amateur' athletes. Farm boys and their horses don't get to appear in world class equine events.

Of course it would be rejected by all those entities that enjoy the power, prestige and money to be reaped from things staying exactly as they are.

susan said...

It seems to me true Olympus Mons (or even Ganymede or Europa) would provide excellent sites for the winter games. Just imagine the luge tracks and ski jumps that could be had there with the significant difference in gravity. Maybe Mercury could host the Summer ones as it's certainly guaranteed to be hot.

The whole idea about watching top-notch 'healthy amateurs' in competition being the reason behind the games is revolting once you understand anything about the background you describe. I agree with you that somewhere beyond the solar system might be the best permanent location for the 'Games' after all.

Andrew MacLaren-Scott said...

"The Winter Games could take place in Japan or, perhaps, Switzerland"

Or, eh... Sochi?

susan said...

That might be one good way to end the Olympic circus forever.

Life As I Know It Now said...

What you have proposed here makes way too much sense so it's highly unlikely that it will ever happen. Anyway, dammit, I'm tired of sports. :~P

Rob-bear said...

I trust from this posting that Crow returned safely from Sochi. I was a bit worried that his flight permit not be quite right, but, in the end, no worries. The extravaganza in the middle of nowhere. That's the Sochi Olympic story. A huge waste of funds, desolation of land, forced movement of the locals. Slaughter of the feral Dogs. Maybe those Dogs will become a better symbol of the Olympics that the five inter-connected rings.

Canada didn't do to badly, for what that's worth (and I'm not really sure what it's worth). And in four years we do it all again.

Blessing and Bear hugs anyhow! Best regards to Crow.

susan said...

It seems common sense is the last thing the uberlords are interested in.

I used to like baseball :)

susan said...

Some Olympics cities have done better than others after the events, but many of them wind up causing the kind of tremendous suffering you mention.

Crow is well, albeit disgusted.

Life As I Know It Now said...

Is this Crow? I saw this last year but it has now gone viral, ha!

Lindsay Byrnes said...

History does suggest sporting mega events struggle to justify the enormous expense or worse still can leave large unsustainable liabilities. But this is avoidable given better planning to allow subsequent reinvigoration such as is evident in the precinct at Homebush from the Sydney Olympics, and the same applies to much earlier Olympic games held in Melbourne, still used every weekend. What applies to all construction is how are you going to use the infrastructure after the event? It needs to be easily convertible for other usages or scaled down to ensure ongoing frequent use by the public, regardless of where they are held,
There may be a good case say for a Greek Olympics Island with sustainable infrastructure as a future central place to stage such events but with less social or environmental pressures and costs but much more important is the subsequent practical use of the facilities when the mega events aren’t on.
I think your kindly depicted Crow might like the idea of a Greek island, where all his feathered friends could fly in and get the best seats ahead of the crowd
Best wishes

susan said...

from: life as I know it now

Is this Crow? I saw this last year but it has now gone viral, ha!

susan said...

I saw this quite a while ago too - one of Crow's Ukrainian cousins. I really wish I'd remembered it for the post. Most cool.

susan said...

Absolutely, it's avoidable as you say, Lindsay. It's wonderful that there have been some cities that have had great success with the facilities built originally for the Olympics. Barcelona, who hosted the games in 1992, is another example. Unfortunately, it's not the case for all and now that the games cost so much money it seems a horrible waste of resources that could be better used. There are already tremendous problems brewing in Rio in anticipation of the World Cup this summer and the Olympic games in 2016. It's all becoming far too much.

A Greek island sounds ideal, doesn't it? Surprisingly too, it also snows regularly in winter on the Olympic Mts in Northern Greece. Handy, that.

Crow asked me to tell you he's looking forward to donning his chiton for the new Greek Olympics.

Best wishes from us both.

Sean Jeating said...

Only recently, in Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in a referendum the majority voted against bidding for Winter Olympics. Oh, and how disappointed even annoyed and disgusted were certain politicians and lobbyists.
I think the same happened in Norway.
Maybe, therein lies one reason that such events more and more are going to happen in China, Russia, Qatar etc., all of them famous for being beacons of democracy and incorruptibility.
. . . Just coming to think of . . . ah . . . might be the best just to wish the peace of the night. :) . . .

susan said...

That's very interesting to know. A number of big sporting events the world over have come to be places where the rich and powerful can congregate in relative freedom. Why not have them happen in places where there's nobody who dares to complain?