A Case Against Hosting the 2022 Olympic Games

March 15 2010, 12:17 PM

A few weeks back, not long after the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics, a hangover for the city of Vancouver, Canada, began to set in. The legacy for the city of 580,000 people is nearly $1 billion in debt for bailing out the development of the Olympic Village. The Olympics, in short, now appear a financial fiasco for taxpayers, with the provincial British Columbia government issuing cuts to services like education, health care, and arts, notes The New York Times. It's unclear whether Colorado, which always seems to be operating under a tight budget, would face the same kinds of disappointments, should boosters like the nonprofit Denver Metro Sports Commission convince officials to bring the Winter Olympics to the state in 2022. Donations from local businesses and individuals are pouring into the commission, which is drawing up estimates on what types of venues and upgrades would be needed to woo Olympics officials, reports The Denver Post. Back in 1972, Colorado had a shot at the Olympics, but voters, worried about costs and environmental issues, turned the games away. Dick Lamm, the Democrat who led the campaign against the Olympics and then became governor, remains "incredibly skeptical" about 2022, telling the Post, "there is still a lot to be concerned about in terms of a small state with a small tax base that would go too far out on a limb on this." Academics also say Coloradans should be wary. "This is one of the constants in the Olympics," warns Jonathan Willner, an economist at Oklahoma City University. "People who advocate for them have a couple of weeks of really good parties, but then they leave the field and leave taxpayers holding the bag for the costs of the party and with things they don't need."

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