The numbers are shocking, the losses staggering and the Olympics are a failed and losing proposition perpetrated on the taxpayers of host nations who pick up the multi-billion dollar tab. Russia spent $50 billion, Brazil $20 billion and Greece’s modern day Olympics (2004) pushed it into its current black hole of debt. All countries exceeded their budget with an average cost over run of 179%. Why do we keep paying the Pied Piper? (a.k.a. International Olympic Committee, the propaganda addicted politicians and all the greed-mongering people associated with the lie).
(6 minute read)
From Berlin to Rio
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men. – Lord Acton (1834-1902)
Lord Acton would have been well aware of the first, modern Olympics staged in Athens in 1896, but he could not have known how prescient his insight on power and corruption would be to the Olympics over the ensuing century. Certainly his descendants have witnessed the merits of his axiom.
The power, corruption and propaganda of the Olympic movement is a blinding glimpse of the obvious but none of it more criminal than in the 1936 Berlin games and, eighty years later, in Rio de Janeiro. The Nazis high-jacked the international event and turned it into a model for patriotic propaganda, political corruption and the virtual whitewashing of their heinous plans for war and extermination of Jews. And this was not without the help of American, Avery Brundage who facilitated the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) complicity with the Nazi regime. Brundage and others were in bed with the Nazis up to their corrupt asses.
In 1936, despite the euphoria surrounding the accomplishments of the athletes (Americans still remember the great victories of Jesse Owens and the Washington State rowing team), the game’s greatest achievement was a facade for Hitler’s concept of the superiority of the Aryan race and his war plan.
The Berlin Games established the pomp and ceremony and template for the extravaganzas we now indulge in, which are ostensibly for the love of sport, but in reality are a propaganda behemoth for the host nation. The IOC has always understood this and no one more than Avery Brundage. When a nation wants propaganda on a world level, there’s no limit to the greed, corruption and crippling costs.
Today, the cost is beyond any intelligent rationale. A study by Oxford University on Olympics from 1968 to 2012 stated that all exceeded their budget with an average cost over run of 179%. Apparently, the estimated cost for the Rio Olympics is $12 billion with predictions that it could top $20 billion. And yet, Rio is already broke, the Brazilian government is in the midst of an economic crises and the World Bank states the economy will shrink by 2.5% in 2016.
All this spending in a country where 21% of its people live below the poverty line (versus USA approximately 13% and Canada 10%), and according to a CBS News report the Brazilian government “has cut spending on health care and education, the police have gone unpaid for weeks at a time, and at least 20 percent of the population lives in favelas
What the hell are they doing?
In Brazil, 1.5 million people have the Zika virus, an estimated 16,000 cases of microephaly and the government’s budget to fight the disease is about $600 million. Compare that to the $12 billion budget for organizing the Olympics and you get an idea of what’s more important, the health of the people or the health of the propaganda? And what about the health of the athletes who are competing in Rio’s waterways, which are overflowing with raw sewage and unprecedented levels of bacteria and viruses? The Associated Press published a study that showed “viral levels at up to 1.7 million times what would be considered worrisome in the United States or Europe.”
“That’s a very, very, very high percentage,” said Dr. Valerie Harwood, Chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida. “Seeing that level of human pathogenic virus is pretty much unheard of in surface waters in the U.S. You would never, ever see these levels because we treat our waste water. You just would not see this.”
The girl from Ipanema’s beach is just as awash in fetid water as the IOC is in bullshit.
Before the opening ceremonies, IOC Coordination Commission chairwoman Nawal El Moutawakel “inspected” the venue and said, “Rio 2016 is ready to welcome the world.” Do you think maybe she overlooked a few items on her check list?
- Guanabara Bay is a cesspool despite the fact that in the 2009 Olympic bid Brazil promised the IOC they would “regenerate Rio’s magnificent waterways” by spending more than a billion-dollars on cleanup. According to the New York Times the figure has been about $170 million.
- A Zika epidemic? What’s a few mosquitoes among athletes? Some athletes are putting their sperm on ice due to the risk of the virus.
- It’s a security nightmare waiting to happen. Military are everywhere but the police have been going without pay and striking. One police sign said: “Welcome to Hell: police and firefighters don’t get paid, whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe.”
- Just before the opening, construction was not only seriously behind but quality has always been a worry. And we all know how contractors cut corners when rushed.
The intersection of personal ambition and greed
Andrew Rose, an economist at UC Berkeley said, “Hosting the Olympics is just a terrible idea” because nearly every Olympics is grossly over budget and leaves the host city with billions in debt.” But that doesn’t matter when the narcissistic ambitions of a nation’s leadership trumps (a harbinger pun) the well-being of the nation (e.g., Germany 1936, Russia 2014, Brazil 2016 – and most of the other episodic disasters). National debt, national health, national poverty are hidden behind the patriotic clarion that the games are good for everyone – new infrastructure, temporary employment, corporate sponsorship and elevation to the world stage. It’s all temporary, a climatic national orgasm that leaves the host impregnated with insurmountable debt, still-born infrastructure and a citizenry living the painful, morning-after reality.
The graveyards of Olympic history
The first, modern day Olympics in Athens in 1896 seemed like a good idea at the time to the founder Pierre de Coubertin, a French aristocrat and sock manufacturer. He could not have imagined the disastrous effects when the event returned to Athens in 2004 and cost more than $11 billion (the highest to date) and “helped push Greece into a fiscal black hole.”
Staging the Olympics is nearly always a financial disaster and there is a global graveyard filled with empty and rotting Olympic facilities.
From Athens, Berlin and Munich to Atlanta, Russia and Rio, the modern Olympic movement is nothing more than patriotic propaganda and a gargantuan money-grab from the pockets of unsuspecting taxpayers who are caught up in the euphoria and aspirations of young athletes.
Of course it’s great for thousands of young athletes and TV ratings (NBC paid $7.5 billion for the rights to carry several future games). But for most countries, the Olympic movement is a three-week high with excruciating withdrawals and an economic malady with debilitating long-term consequences for the citizens. But not for the political leaders, commercial interests and, of course, the IOC. They just move on to prey on the next propaganda-needy, self-absorbed leadership who are ready to sell the citizens the great Olympic lie.
- Olympic Fever: The IOC averted its eyes from the glaring, predictable problems in Rioby Jim Geraghty August 5, 2016 4:00 AM