Olympic Competitions: The Price To Play


Ryann Ottman, Staff Writer

The 2022 Olympics have started, making many sports fans around the world root for their countries. But, nobody really thinks about how much they affect the hosting country.

This year, Beijing, China, is hosting the Winter Olympics after beating Almaty, Kazakhstan, by four votes. Though losing to the vote, Almaty should consider itself lucky after seeing how much it costs to host. The Tokyo Summer Olympics originally grew to $12.6 billion USD, but after the pandemic hit, it grew 22% to $15.4 billion USD. But, the costs have increased in time, now making it to at least $25 billion USD. 

Looking at the costs of Tokyo’s hosting could make one wonder how much Beijing’s Winter Olympics price could rise up to. “I think it could cost up to at least $10 billion (USD),” infers Lucy Cappelletti-Foster, a senior at Elkhart High School. Upon research on the cost, it turns out that this year the Beijing Winter Olympics will cost more than $38.5 billion USD. Money like this could potentially put the city and even the country in debt. In fact, most cities that have hosted the Olympics have ended up falling massively into debt because of the games.

Tourism could possibly be a light at the end of the tunnel for Beijing, as the city has always been known for its deep cultural roots with its arts, architecture, and food, so it’s no doubt that people around the world will be coming for both Olympics and sightseeing. But, that could also be a slight problem, concerning COVID-19. “I think tourism could possibly be good for the economy, though I do see how there could be a fall after.” Cappelletti-Foster adds, “I know the news said that China is warning their citizens to not attend the Olympics or go anywhere near that bubble, but I believe that COVID could be a problem inside the Olympics themselves.”

Beyond tourism to the cities, many people have been wondering how the Olympic hosts could be able to lower the cost of hosting. “We could reuse the Olympic cities we already have built, instead of abandoning them,” Cappelletti-Foster suggests. Many of the arenas built for the Olympics are still in good shape to use them for following years, so why do they just abandon them? Reusing the already built arenas would save the hosting cities around $1.4 billion USD, dropping the average cost of hosting a great amount. Unfortunately, this might not be a great enough reason for many cities to reuse old arenas, though. Many cities love to have themselves recognized by the nation and adore the short time of fame they get from it. 

These cities’ five seconds of fame can really change their whole perspective on the Olympics, but it shouldn’t make them turn a blind eye on how the cost could affect their countries and the people living there. Knowing the price to play makes a big difference when it comes to hosting the Olympics.