Host 2022 Olympics? Cities Say No Thanks

Costs make gig increasingly unappealing
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2014 11:47 AM CDT
Host 2022 Olympics? Cities Say No Thanks
In this Feb. 21, 2014, file photo, the United States team follows Russia during a speed-skating warm-up.   (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

The race is on for the 2022 Winter Olympics—the race to get out of hosting, that is. Four cities that were considering hosting, including two finalists for the job, have dropped out of the running. Four finalists remain, but only two of those bids look robust. Cities just don't seem to want to take charge of an event that cost $51 billion this year in Sochi. Deadspin has the story: This week saw Krakow drop its finalist bid "due to the low support for the idea among the residents," the city's mayor said. How low? Well, 70% of them voted against holding the Games.

Stockholm was another finalist, until its ruling party decided in January not to fund the event because afterward, there "isn't any need" for, say, a luge facility. Votes in Munich as well as Davos/St. Mortiz, Switzerland, opposed Olympic bids, with a German lawmaker citing "the non-transparency and the greed for profit of the IOC." As for the remaining four finalists:

  • Oslo's bid had only slim support in September, and public opinion against it has grown. Plus, a bid would require the ruling and opposition parties to join forces.
  • The head of the Lviv, Ukraine, bid says its "dream is on hold" amid the country's violence.
  • That leaves Almaty, Kazakhstan—a country whose president is in power for life—and Beijing.
At Business Insider, Tony Manfred explains the issue: Research shows that hosting the Olympics offers fewer gains and bigger costs than estimates indicate. "Employment benefits of the project are matched by employment losses associated with higher taxes or spending cuts elsewhere in the system," a Holy Cross economics professor wrote in 2006. These days, Manfred suggests, countries are realizing that researchers are right. (More Winter Olympics stories.)

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