Here Is My Clever Plan to Save the Olympics


Clay Dillow reports that hosting the Olympics is really expensive:

When Rio de Janeiro won its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics back in 2009, the Brazilian government estimated that costs directly related to hosting the games would run just shy of $3 billion. But by the time Vanderlei de Lima lit the Olympic torch at last week’s opening ceremonies, the country had already spent some $4.6 billion on venues, administration, transportation and the like, putting the games roughly 50 percent over budget. By the time the games close on Aug. 21, the tally for the games will likely be higher still.

What can we do to cut down on the cost of staging the Olympics? My idea to host the summer games permanently in Los Angeles sank like a shot put, so here’s another one: keep moving them from city to city, but break up the events.

Hear me out. This year, for example, maybe Rio would host track and field—which would be designated the lead venue, responsible for opening and closing ceremonies. Paris would host swimming. Denver would host gymnastics. Beijing would host wrestling, judo, and boxing. Perth would host all the sailing events. And so forth.

Basically, you could break up the summer games into a dozen components and let cities bid for each one. Ditto for the winter games. This would allow even small cities to bid on some of the smaller packages. And it would allow the IOC to gamble on letting developing countries play host without fearing that the entire games might be bollixed up.

Every couple of years, the entire world would be involved in the Olympics. Every continent would be represented. And no one would have to commit to spending billions and billions of dollars on a huge new Olympic venue. The television audience would barely see a difference, and the difference they did see might make the games even better. Some people would miss being able to visit the entire Olympics in person, but hell, that’s an expensive proposition. There aren’t many people who truly do this. And under my plan, it would be a lot easier and less crowded to visit just one venue that you’re truly interested in.

So how about it? This is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking the stodgy old IOC needs. Let’s blanket the world with the Olympic Games.

UPDATE: I am late to this idea. Megan Greenwell proposed the same thing in Wired. I can’t read it thanks to my ad blocker, but I’ll bet she makes the case better than me and in more detail.