I’m very relieved to see that Boston’s Olympic bid is over. Personally, I’m not a sports fan, and have never cared about them, but I’ve also felt that it would be like the 2004 Democratic Convention – great for the money folks, but a huge inconvenience for anyone who actually has to live or work in or around the city. Lots of construction, lots of restrictive security, lots of disruption, lots of money spent on infrastructure with a very short active life.
Given the huge outlays needed to host modern day Olympic Games, I’ve long thought the idea of rotating cities needs to be re-examined. The Olympics need a permanent home. One where they can set up shop with all the facilities the Games need, in exactly the form they need them in. The expense of the infrastructure could be amortized over several sets of Games, and could be gradually grown and improved. Facilities could be custom built for the events they’re designed for, without worrying about winding up with an expensive white elephant that serves no purpose.
The permanent Olympic site would obviously be a draw during the Games, but I also think they would draw tourists during the off years, and facilities could host other events as well.
So where to put the permanent Olympic Games? To my mind, the obvious choice is Greece, their ancestral home, assuming the cost of building it was borne by the International Olympic Committee, and not the Greek government. It would have the added benefit of increasing Greek tourism, which would, hopefully, help the Greek economy dig out of the hole it’s in.