Monday, September 16, 2013

Olympic Island

An Olympic Island. No, we're not talking about coconuts and palm trees- that might not bode well for cross-country skiiers. Instead, this means a permanent Olympic site where the Olympics would be held every year.

Instead of hosting the Olympics in a different place every two years (if you count both Summer and Winter Games), a more permanent venue should be set up. This venue would most likely be in Greece, as it is the birthplace of the Games themselves. This would take out the necessity of building new stadiums and venues each time, saving potentially billions (if not more). If an "Olympic Island" could be built, that would also mean less stress on the potential host cities of the world who must consider transportation, capacity, security, and many other problems that arise when international sporting events come to town.





As much benefit can be garnered from hosting the Olympics in one place, I fear there may be a huge loss when it comes to cultural and geographic diversity. I spent a whole academic year arguing the point that the Olympics should be held in developing countries in the future, even recognizing the fact that the Games cost and put as much stress as they do on cities and countries as a whole. These are the benefits that I highlighted as examples of why I thought this should occur. Namely, this notable quote from the BBC Olympics Podcast (preceding the 2012 London Games): "as costs increased on the Games, so does demand- to make us better, healthier people; to promote social inclusion; to contribute to the economy; even foster peace among nations." However lofty these goals may be, it cannot be denied that the root of the Olympic spirit means to promote these things.

So, back to the idea of an Olympic Island. What can be saved in cost will be lost, I believe, in cultural tolerance. Some may argue that having a "neutral ground" will make the competition more fair, but is that ever true? I doubt there is a neutral place left on earth, aside from Switzerland; does this mean they would have to stop participating in the Games? And what about the national pride that colors the Games so vividly? Part of the excitement is seeing a new country, a new city, and how the Games are shaped by those places and the people that live there. I feel as though so much would be missing if the Games were stationary.

My economic analysis of the Games did account for the numerous ways that people pay for the Olympics and even continue to pay for the Olympics long after they are gone. Thus, I believe that costs need to decrease or else an Olympic Island idea may truly take hold. I'll be honest, it wouldn't be all that bad to have such a place; further, I can't guarantee that my love of the Olympics wouldn't overtake me and make me move there! Nonetheless, culture and diversity trump economics for me in this particular case.

What are your thoughts? Would you support and attend the Olympics if they were held in the same place every time?

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