Winter Olympics Sports Socialism Goes Out of Fashion in the Free World


Donkey Hotey.CreativeCommons.Foter

The days when countries vied with each other for the national (dis)honor of spending themselves into the poorhouse in order to host the Olympics — or at least the Winter Olympics — might be fast disappearing. Why any sane city would ever want to host these games is a mystery given that they never pay  for themselves — although they do give politicians lots of opportunities for waste, fraud and abuse. (Actually, scratch that, the question answers itself: Most cities are not sane.) But after Russia's recent Sochi debacle bumped the price tag of this sports socialism to a jaw-dropping $51 billion, the outer bounds of insanity might have been reached. It is no longer possible to pretend that the promises of spillover effects and Keynesian multipliers are anything other than a total scam.

The deadline for awarding the 2022 Winter Olympics is barely a year away and potential bidders are dropping out like Indian athletes in a luge contest.

Reports Deadspin:

Yesterday, Krakow, Poland, officially withdrew its bid for the games, a day after a citywide referendum where 70 percent of voters came out against hosting the Olympics. "Krakow is closing its efforts to be the host of the 2022 Winter Games due to the low support for the idea among the residents," said mayor Jacek Majchrowski.

In January, another of the six original finalists pulled out, when Stockholm, Sweden's ruling political party declined to fund the games. They cited the pointlessness of paying hundreds of millions for facilities that would be used for two weeks and then rarely again, a story common to almost all Olympic hosts. "Arranging a Winter Olympics would mean a big investment in new sports facilities, for example for the bobsleigh and luge," the Moderate party said in a statement. "There isn't any need for that type of that kind of facility after an Olympics."

In November, voters in Munich, Germany, rejected a proposed Olympic bid. "The vote is not a signal against the sport," said one lawmaker, "but against the non-transparency and the greed for profit of the IOC."

Last March, a joint bid from Davos/St. Moritz, Switzerland, fell apart after being rejected by a public referendum.

Of the four remaining finalists, two are in rough shape. The Oslo, Norway, bid is falling apart. It was supported by a razor-thin margin in a September referendum, but public opposition has only grown since then. And on Sunday, the junior member of the government coalition voted against funding any Olympics. For them to go on, it would require an unprecedented alliance between the ruling Conservatives and the opposition Labour party.

The Lviv, Ukraine, bid seems dead in the water with the turmoil and war in the country. "Currently our dream is on hold," said the bid's chief.

Kim Jong Un
Photo Giddy / Foter / Creative Commons

Who's still standing? Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, China. The first is an oppressive oil-rich state and the second just an oppressive state.

It has taken nearly a century for these white elephants to go out of fashion in the free world. Can the unfree world be far behind? (The answer is "yes." And for proof, observe the 1980s mushroom cut that North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un still apparently regards as high fashion.)

My piece about the obscenity of poor countries like India hosting the Commomwealth Games is here.

H/T: Prateik

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  1. With any luck, this will be the beginning of the end of the Olympics.

    1. *Have you seen that sport, where you push a big rock on ice, then two more people use brooms? Have you? It doesn’t seem like much of a sport, but it’s probably harder than it looks. I like watching it, have you seen it?*

      NO! Fuck you and curling!

      I had to get that off my chest.

      1. Dude, did you see some of the womens’ curling teams? It’s my favorite Winter Olympic sport for a reason.

    2. I think the idea of the Olympics is great. I see no reason why the games can’t continue but with a change in the way they are hosted.

  2. I don’t know what’s wrong with these people. Any redneck can organize a party. Tell each team to BYOB, in this case being Bring Your Own Billion.

    1. Bring Your Own Bribe?… this is the IOC, right?

  3. Why any sane city would ever want to host the Olympics is a mystery given that these games never paid for themselves ? although they did give politicians lots of opportunities for waste, fraud and abuse.

    What’s the shortest path between the mystery and the answer?

  4. potential bidders are dropping out like Indian athletes in a luge contest.

    Gillespie seems to be rubbing off on you, Shikha. Is he aware that you have you been wearing his jacket while he sleeps?

  5. One can only hope such enthusiasm for not using tax money on sports facilities, starts to apply to US sports franchises.

    1. ^^Oh, so much this…

  6. Why can’t a city just offer to host it with existing facilities? SLC could do it again without too much expense, and then my mountains in CO might be a little less crowded for a couple of weeks. Win-win.

    1. This is my thought. The whole idea of moving the Olympics around is a modern idea. Might it not even be profitable to simply use existing facilities and host them every year? Or maybe two places, each hosting every eight years.

      1. I was thinking something similar. Maybe have one Olympic facility in Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Australia, and every country chip in on the cost and maintenance of the facility.

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  8. It’s a fact that the Olympics have ever been an international assortment of games which has bonded the world together. The introduction of winter Olympics added more scope for athletes. Well, the downfall of Winter Olympics sports over $ 51 billion is really a sad aspect of this platform. This would actually compel the bidders to think over twice or thrice before bidding.

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