Secret UK Report Says Olympics Benefits Overrated

2012 could be awkward
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2008 12:54 PM CST
Construction work continues on the main stadium for the 2012 Olympic Games, at the Olympic Park site in London, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
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(Newser) – The UK made its grab for the 2012 Olympic Games in defiance of a secret, 205-page strategy report concluding that, apart from being a nice party, the games were essentially useless, the Times reports. Representing almost a year of research by experts, the 2002 document was signed off on by Tony Blair, but then quietly shunted aside when it debunked the main justifications for hosting the games.

“Countries should only host the Olympics for reasons of national celebration,” the report concludes, “because the economic rationale is weak.” Nor do the games boost participation in sports. “It was an inconvenient truth,” said one business professor. “Almost the moment the ink was dry there was a volte-face.” The revelation comes as economic turmoil is cutting into the Olympic budget, and may boost calls for “Austerity Games” resembling 1948—which happens to be the last time London hosted.