An Olympic Legacy

This is a damning report:

Athens’ Olympic venues lie empty and disused as the tenth anniversary of the Games approaches.

Greece spent over £7bn on the Games, yet the canoeing and aquatics centre are now completely dried up.

The pictures say it all:

_76804358_athens8_getty[1]_76803679_athens4_getty[1] _76804189_athens7_getty[1]That last picture is of a beach volleyball stadium.  The one above is of a softball stadium.  Why build such facilities for hosting a sport which nobody watches outside of an Olympic jamboree lasting only a few weeks?

The Games cost almost twice their projected budget, with organisers not opting to use any temporary, collapsible venues, as other host cities have done.

Why?  Because permanent venues offered greater opportunities for kick-backs, make-work schemes for unionised employees, and photo shoots for politicians, that’s why.  All paid for by the taxpayer.  And how’s that worked out for Greece?  How’s their economy looking these days?

And just in case we thought London was any better we get this report:

A major parliamentary report into the London 2012 Olympics warns that the prospect of an “effective and robust” legacy from the Games is in jeopardy unless there is a change in government approach.

The report finds “little evidence” of increased participation in sport, highlights the uneven distribution of economic benefits of the Games across the UK, and also criticises funding body UK Sport for its ‘no compromise’ policy on sports without short-term medal prospects.

So that’s one major justification for splurging £10bn which has turned out to be a load of bollocks, then.  Fortunately, we have a world class Olympic venue as an enduring legacy.

Oh, hang on:

The Olympic Stadium is not being used as well as it should be, according to a group of Lords who also questioned the legacy of London 2012.

The House of Lords Committee on Games Legacy said the £429m stadium was a “national asset that should be used to the full”.

But it remained “unconvinced” that present arrangements would deliver an “effective and robust” legacy.

The major examination of London’s legacy efforts by a cross-party committee of peers claims political impetus has been lost and there is a “lack of ownership” from the government over building on the opportunities the Games provided.

Personally, I don’t really give a stuff, as I am not a UK taxpayer, let alone a London rates payer.  But I remember when the games opened social media was full of Brits declaring themselves “proud”, and dismissing anyone who objected on grounds of cost or principle to be a grumpy stick-in-the-mud.  I find it hard to believe so many people can be so fucking stupid.  Maybe in 10 years Londoners will see the same legacy the Athenians have to face every day: derelict facilities and an enormous bill their grandkids will still be paying decades after they’re gone.

I only hope the Rio de Janeirians wake up before it’s too late.

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10 thoughts on “An Olympic Legacy

  1. The Olympic circus leaves me bemused; it’s basically a collection of sports which you’d never consider paying hard cash to go and see at any other time of tee sporting calendar.

    “Ooh, I think I’ll treat the family to an afternoon watching the female double sculls rowing”. Said nobody ever.

  2. TNA

    You can add to that roster of unloved spectator sports, women’s rugby and women’s cricket. Of course, the BBC’s reporters can’t give them enough coverage and I’m sure the 17 people watching from the vast empty grandstands (artfully but incompletely hidden by the BBC news cameras) are cheered by the BBC’s patronage.

  3. “I find it hard to believe so many people can be so fucking stupid.” It’s because so many people are so stupid that you and I could make a decent living doing something we enjoy anyway.

  4. @dearieme,

    Very true. Whenever I used to get frustrated in some shithole or other, I used to remind myself that if these idiots were any good, I wouldn’t have a job. I noted that there are few opportunities to work in Japan, for example.

  5. “I find it hard to believe so many people can be so fucking stupid.”

    Great point by Dearieme.

    I’ve been making a nice living in Australia for the last 4 years mainly because the local population aren’t particularly bright. Let’s all drink to the stupidity of people!

  6. What’s sad about this unloved and unwanted underwater tiddlywinkpolo infrastructure is that we were told, in the run up to the event, that billions of schoolchildren and their well-heeled parents were disappointed to not get tickets in the hugely complicated, management-consultant-devised, lottery system for allocating the €7.48 tickets.

    And then when the event happened seeing the stands 90% empty, the Russian oligarchs, oil sheikhs, dictators and entourage of minor African nations and wives of friends of wives of IOC members who won the €7.48 ticket lottery deciding they had better things to do after all.

    Why not auction the tickets and have the games pay for themselves, funded by the spectators who want to watch underwater tiddlywinkpolo? No billions of taxpayer money poured into it, only the money of those who love the game.

    Oh, wait…

  7. “Thanks for the comment, I’m glad you’re still reading.”

    I’m glad you’re still blogging (and commenting on Worstall’s and Cat’s blogs).

  8. Sydney stadiums were crammed, and tickets were easy to come by, apart from men’s 400m freestyle. Even the women’s soccer was well supported. What did the Aussies do differently to the UK Olympics?

  9. Those bears still not eaten you?!

    I think Sydney was a success for several reasons. Firstly, they completed the stadium in time and on budget, and the city did genuinely need a large, world-class stadium. The stadium was used properly and regularly after the games, so one of the biggest bones of contention was removed. Secondly Sydney, like Barcelona, was probably a good choice: a regional city, a bit tucked away, with enormous potential and could do with a bit of a profiile boost. London simply didn’t need this. Finally, Australia is (or at least was) a nation of sports lovers, who play and watch damned near anything. Australia is a good place to host any sporting event, for this reason.

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