The Olympic Games first started at Olympia in Greece in 776 BC. At that time, the games held were organized into festivals. There was a peace agreement called the scared truce between the city-states of Elis and Pisa. The reasons for hosting the Olympic Games at that time fall into three obvious aspects —— the honour of competing, the opportunity for trade and also, for peace. The reason why cities bid to hold the Olympics now are more complicated than in ancient time. But the main reasons remain the same.
Cities may bid to host the Olympics to raise their International status by opening a door to the whole world, boost their economy, and enrich their culture and so on. All in all, cities want to promote the pace of their development by holding such a big event like the Olympics. Cities also have high expectations about the legacy benefits of the Games. Some of the main benefits will be identified later in this article. However, the benefits that are claimed in relation to hosting the Olympic Games are hard to measure.
Those main benefits will be evaluated by taking the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games for instance. The legacy benefits of the Olympic Games can be indentified through four aspects —— political, economical, environmental and as the Olympic Games is a big sporting event, the last one should be sport. Politics had no place in the ancient games. The event was made possible in part by a truce that allowed visitors and competitors to travel to Olympia safely. During the truce there was no war, no executions, and no military action.
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However, although it is claimed that the modern Olympics have nothing to do with the political, many countries bid to host the Olympic Games for many political reasons under different circumstance. The best example to examine the relationship between sport and politics was the two German states during the cold war between 1945 and the early 1970s, in which period the two German states competed to host the Olympic Games in order to establish their own political authority. (Hughes, Owen, 2009).
The 1972 Munich (Germany) Games was no doubt a good stage to show the rebuild Germany after the war. The Olympic Games are somehow a stage to relief the political conflicts and help the host cities change their International image. In terms of economy, it is the most important area when talking about the benefits of the Olympic Games. Cities always have high expectations to develop their economy after hosting the Olympics. Although the 1980 Moscow Olympics left a great amount of debt to the host city, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic recovered people’s confidence.
Matthewman (2009) indentified the legacy benefits of the Olympics’ economy benefits were included media exposure, employment and education training, infrastructure improving, increased trade, new investment and housing. However, the economic benefits of the Olympic Games are obviously much more than Matthewman described. There is a similar report printed by Price Waterhouse Coopers (2004) claimed that the long-term economy benefits would include: A. Improvement of city productivity (e. g. better transportation) B. Cultivate the city’s management ability to deal with International event. C.
Olympic-related trade. D. Media exposure. E. New investment and more job opportunities. F. Training project. G. Tourism industry Another benefit of the Olympics could be the improvement of city environment. After the International Olympic Committee (IOC) make the environment the third strand in 1994, cities have made their efforts to deliver cleaner and greener Games. The eco-friendly event made the sustainable development theory spread all over the world. The Olympic Games make a good contribution to arousing the awareness of protecting our environment which could be beneficial to the whole human society.
As the Olympic Games combined different sporting event, it is most closely related to sports in the host cities. Firstly, the sports infrastructure could be improved as cities want to hold the Olympics. This improvement can have a good impact on their athels’ training conditions, sports watching industries and provide their citizens of more sports sources. Secondly, a big sporting event can arouse people’s interest in sport. Additionally, it is good for promoting sport in the host cities as a guide to develop a health living style among its citizens.
This is good for citizens’ health and their quality of life. To evaluate these benefits, the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games can be a good example. According to Cashman (2002), the Olympic Games would help the host cities acquire high international reputation in terms of politics. As Australia has a history of its nation conflicts between local residents and emigrations, the 2000 Sydney Olympic did not be supported by their citizens. However, the Olympic organisers came up with many ideas especially by designed a long-distance torch relay program in order to unit the people.
This excellent torch relay project which included 11,000runners, successfully changed people’s attitude and built a conception that the 2000 Sydney Olympic is not just about Sydney, it is about Australia as a whole(Haynes, 2001). The economic benefits of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games are hardly measured because there are so many potential areas for long-term impact. However, a 2001 Price Waterhouse Coopers report showed that Sydney has benefited from the 2000 Olympic Games a large amount of profits, which included about $3 billion from new business, $7. billion was injected for infrastructure and promoting business of New South Wales, more than $6 billion from tourism and opening their door to attract International business projects. (Matthewman, 2009) In other words, the Sydney Games had not only gained more investments and improved the city’s infrastructure; it also developed the industry of tourism and gave the ability to manage large projects. The 2000 Sydney Olympic Games was the first time the idea of the “Green Games” was adopted.
Sydney had come up with five strategies before bidding to host the Olympic Games —— save energy, save water, reduce rubbish, prevent pollution and protect the natural environment (Cashman, 2002). As the benefits on environment are difficult to identify in a short period of time, it is not likely to attribute the environmental improvement to the “Green Olympic Game” only. However, the eco-friendly idea will surely make great contribute to the city’s environment. People’s awareness was established after the “Green Game”, and it was becoming more and more popular that individuals started to take environment their own responsibility.
Sport itself has obviously benefited from the Games. Firstly, the Olympic Games appeared to contribute to the sports infrastructure. Sydney had built the high-level sport facilities which combined technology and art to host the events. These sports infrastructures would improve the athletes’ training conditions and provide large sports events among counties as well. Secondly, the Sydney Olympic Games tend to arouse local people’s interest in participating sports activities. The Sweeney Sport Report 2000/2001 showed there was a significant increasing trend of sports on TV viewing.
According to Haynets’s (2001) report, it is claimed that this raised participation might also lead to some other benefits, such as heath and economic. However, it is hard to know whether the citizens’ interests can last for a long time. To conclude, cities bid to host the Olympic Games for their better developments. The Olympic Games have a great impact on many areas of the hosting cities, which obviously are not restricted to the four aspects above. The benefits of host cities can gain from the Games are quite different and difficult to measure.
The 2000 Sydney Olympic Games are a good example because it has won a high reputation for its successes. However, as there are always diverse proposals in different cities toward hosting the Olympics, it is important to have a detailed plan before both bidding and hosting the Games and reasonable expectations. Reference list Jill Hatnes(2001) ‘Social –economic impact of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games’. International Chair in Olympic, Centre d’Estudies Olympics (UAB). 2001 from http://olympicstudies. uab. es/pdf/od013_eng. pdf Price Waterhouse Coopers (2004) ‘The economic impact of the Olympic Games’.
European Economic Outlook, June, p. 18-19 Richard Cashman(2002) ‘Impact of the Games on Olympic host cities’. International Chair in Olympic, Centre d’Estudies Olympics (UAB). 2002 from http://olympicstudies. uab. es/lec/pdf/cashman. pdf Richard Matthewman(2009) ‘Economic impacts of Olympic Games’. July, 2009 from http://maasterpieces. com/Documents/Economic%20Impacts%20of%20Olympic%20Games. pdf R. Gerald Hughes, Rachel J. Owen (2009) ‘The Continuation of Politics by Other Means’: Britain, the Two Germanys and the Olympic Games, 1949–1972’. Contemporary European History, 18(4), pp. 443-474.
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