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Are the Olympics a waste of money?

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Quick Answer

The debate on whether the Olympic Games are a useful event or merely an extravagant waste of money can be split up into two parts: whether it is worth having Olympics in general and whether it is worth it for an individual country or city to host them. Most experts agree that the Olympics are worth having but that they exert excessive costs on their host cities.

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Generally, the worth of the Olympics is not measured in economic terms; rather, the Olympic Games are said to produce intangible benefits, according to Journalist's Resource. For example, holding the Olympics is said to help foster peace and understanding between nations through friendly competition. It also puts an international spotlight on the world's best athletes, which encourages them to push the limits of the human body's capabilities. It is hard to measure these intangible qualities against the economic costs of holding the Olympic Games, but experts and laymen alike tend to believe that the Olympics are worth having on principle.

On the other hand, the economic reality of hosting the Olympics often takes its toll on host cities as the Olympic Games become more extravagant. For example, the Guardian notes that the costs of hosting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi ballooned to $51 billion dollars. Often, the buildings constructed as venues for the Olympic Games are only used for the Olympics themselves, and they soon fall into disrepair. However, the Olympic Games do boost tourism to an area, and one economic study even concluded that hosting a "mega-event" like the Olympics can boost a country's exports by as much as 20 percent. In light of these facts, most experts agree that the Olympics, in their current form, are a wasteful event; however, if they were made less extravagant, their key cultural and economic benefits could be retained without the excessive costs typical today.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How long are the Olympics?

    A:

    The modern summer and winter Olympic Games stretch across 16 or 17 consecutive days of competition. The summer games generally feature more countries competing in more events, because countries with a lack of cold weather often do not participate in the winter games.

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  • Q:

    How long have the Olympics been going on?

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    The modern Olympic Games began in 1896, while the ancient Olympic Games were played between 776 B.C. and 393 A.D. The ancient Olympic Games were founded by Heracles, according to legend. The games were abolished by Roman emperor, Theodosius I, due to perceived Pagan influences.

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    What is the meaning of the linked rings on the Olympic symbol?

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    The five linked rings on the Olympic symbol stand for the five continents that participate in the Olympics: Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America (considered as one continent) and Australia/Oceania. The colors of the rings do not signify individual continents, however. Instead, they represent an amalgamation of the colors appearing on the national flags of all the countries that participated in the Olympics as of 1912, when the flag was designed.

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    Why were the five colors of the Olympic rings chosen?

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    The five colors of the Olympic rings and the white background were chosen to represent all of the colors of the flags seen from each country competing in the Olympics. It was designed by Pierre de Coubertin in 1913, at the outbreak of World War I, to symbolize peace and fraternity.

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