I was actually in Canada for a majority of the Olympics—and you cannot imagine how gleeful their Sports Center hosts get about bronze medals until you actually see it. But before I left for my getaway, I managed to read and hear all the click-bait in Philly’s corner of the Internet about how our city needs to have an Olympics, and soon. Gosh darn it, we deserve it, for some reason!
And maybe we do, considering we have a well-earned reputation for hating ourselves. Because bringing the Summer Olympics (2024, baby!) to Philly would be a fucking nightmare.
Take a look at the cities that have hosted the Games over the last few decades and the budget-busting depravity that’s led to empty buildings, homelessness and massive bankruptcy there. Throw a dart at a globe and you might see that Athens, Greece, hosted the games in 2004. They predicted $4.5 billion euros would cover all that swimming and throwing, but when it came down to it, between the stadium-building, housing and prep, it cost about 5 percent of that country’s GDP—and now Greece is a dirty word. They still haven’t recovered from that debt—never mind the rest of their economic problems.
Other cities, like Nagano, Japan (where each family in that city paid about $30,000 for the 1998 Olympics), and Vancouver, British Columbia, are still struggling to figure out what to do with their Olympic Villages. Meanwhile, Beijing’s 2008 Olympic infrastructure is crumbling.
And just being considered costs a bundle. It has been discovered that the illegal practice offering the most perks to the International Olympic Committee to get the Games has become a regular thing. For example, the IOC got more than $1 million in perks before the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. So, if you think Philly’s in financial dire straights now, just wait until we’re infested with discus throwers and show horses.
Savage Love: Sondheim is solace