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Top 5 Facts: The Olympics SUCK

VO: Chris Masson
Script written by Clayton Martino The world’s greatest sports competition isn’t all gold and laurels. Welcome to WatchMojo's Top 5 Facts. In this installment, we're counting down the top reasons why hosting the Olympics is a bad idea for cities. To get a more complete picture of the Olympic debate, we’ll also be publishing another episode of Top 5 Facts where we count down the Top 5 Reasons Why the Olympics Rock. Special thanks to our user christo for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Clayton Martino

Top 5 Facts: The Olympics SUCK


The world’s greatest sports competition isn’t all gold and laurels. Welcome to WatchMojo's Top 5 Facts. In this installment, we're counting down the top reasons why hosting the Olympics is a bad idea for cities. To get a more complete picture of the Olympic debate, we’ll also be publishing another episode of Top 5 Facts where we count down the Top 5 Reasons Why the Olympics Rock.

#5: Cities Spend Millions to NOT Get the Olympics


The competition starts a full ten years before the games even begin during the bidding process to determine who will host the games. Cities first compete on a national level and then internationally against other cities from around the world. And it costs. A lot. Naturally, most cities are unsuccessful in their bids – Chicago spent an estimated $100 million to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, but still lost out to Rio de Janeiro. Back in the 90s, in an effort to host the 2004 Winter Olympics, the American committee provided IOC members with over a million dollars in gifts, ski trips, and cold hard cash. In 2014, in the midst of their bid for the 2022 games in Oslo, the Norwegian government voted against pursuing the campaign further, largely because popular support for the bid was around 24%.

#4: The Host City Becomes a Police State


Naturally, the presence of thousands of world class athletes from around the globe and their fans and supporters creates the need for increased security to ensure the athletes and fans are safe and secure. But for the games, security ramps up to protect not just people, but investments. The 2012 Summer Olympics in London, for example, banned local businesses from using words like “Gold,” “Games,” and even “London” in their advertising, or under threat of a $30,000 fine. Only official corporate sponsors could use those words, or rent billboard space for that matter. And they wouldn’t like lists like this one – London police were granted permission to enter homes that displayed anti-Olympic propaganda and destroy it.

#3: No Room for Poor People


Cities sell their citizens on the Olympics by promoting all the positives it will bring, such as job opportunities and new world class venues. But many argue that those benefits only advantage the privileged, and actually hurt to poor. Seeing as most cities are limited in space, new Olympic venues are typically built where poor people live. The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing saw 1.5 million Chinese people displaced from their homes. Those without homes don’t fare much better. Vancouver took a lot of heat for its attempt to hide their homeless problem. Just two months before the games, the provincial government passed the Assistance to Shelter Act, which allowed the police to clear the streets of homeless people– for their own safety, of course. While the government maintained that it had little to do with the Olympics, the timing was curious to say the least.

#2: It Causes Cities to Over-Build


At least the arrival of the Games allows for the construction of new world class venues, right? It’s true that hosting the games causes often spurs governments to overcome political bickering and approve long overdue infrastructure upgrades. Unfortunately, construction budgets tends to get bloated. A 2012 study found that since 1960, Olympics games have gone, on average 179% over-budget. Once the Olympics pack up and leave, however, it’s nearly impossible to keep the massive new sporting venues busy, and they often sit empty while still costing millions to maintain. The empty, decaying stadiums and venues in Athens are the perfect example of over-building. One proposed solution to this problem is to simply host the games in the same two cities every four years.

#1: The Olympics Are a Good Party but a Bad Hangover


And it can be real bad. In fact, the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens created so much debt that they are partially responsible for the financial collapse in Greece. And don’t expect the IOC to help out – not only do they not pay the athletes, they don’t share their revenue with host countries, nor do they pay taxes. My hometown didn’t finish construction of its new stadium until 11 years after it hosted the olympics, and didn’t finish paying for it until for 30 years. As for the idea that the Olympics increase tourism? It seems there’s little evidence to support this. Sceptics argue that since most host cities are already popular tourist destinations, host cities essential pay billions to lure tourists who were already coming. There’s massive logistical undertaking actually hurts other local industries like film and television. And then there’s always a chance that negative PR from scandals or other problems could actually cause people to avoid visiting the city. All these issues can take months or years for a city to recover from.

So, what do you think? Should we celebrate the olympics, or avoid them? Be sure to check out our Top 5 Facts video about why the olympics might actually be a great idea to get both sides of the story. For more gold medal winning Top 10s and over-built Top 5s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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