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The Olympics set to becomes a symbol of dictatorship?


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The article starts with Boston's decision not to bid for the Olympics and uses that to look at the larger issue of how Democracy and large government funded projects for sports seem incompatible. Boston was looking at 10 Billion dollars just for the organizing and city infrastructure costs. There would have been additional costs for the facilities themselves (Stadiums, arenas, velodromes, kayak courses etc). And that was just the organizers' estimates. Real costs tend to come much higher.


The internet is clogged with slide shows of empty, broken, useless stadiums built in the euphoria of a coming Olympics or World Cup then abandoned soon after, allowed to fill with weeds, rodents and other signs of human escape. Is there a better sign of Greece’s collapse than a pile of useless sports facilities crumbling since the torch went out in the summer of 2004? What use did Athens have for a baseball stadium anyway? It’s crumbling among the weeds just like the field hockey venue, the canoeing center and the training pool green with algae.


After Rome, Paris, Hamburg and maybe Toronto or Doha – all fighting to host the 2024 Games – the list of Olympic hopefuls may quickly dwindle until only bidders will be places like Beijing or Qatar or breakaway Soviet republic. These are places that won’t need to worry about local opposition when writing checks in the name of national pride. The concept of getting one big city to compete against another, with each promising more extravagance is probably an old one. Fewer municipalities will have the money to waste.


A similar grassroots opposition worked against the bid proposals in Oslo, Krakow and Stockholm for the 2022 Winter Games. The costs of hosting the Olympics seemed too extreme, the rewards too small.


As part of its [Winter Olympics] 2022 bid, Beijing’s organizers will pull from a nearby lake to manufacture the piles of snow needed for mountain sports and will construct a giant, high-speed rail line to whisk athletes and spectators from the city to the remote outdoor locations. Who can compete against this? Who would want to?


China will keep bidding for every international event that comes along, overwhelming competitors from more democratic nations by promising to deliver anything necessary to land those games.




A similar controversy existed this summer for the Pan American Games held i Toronto. Hardly anyone showed up to the games. The Olympics tend to get more visitors since they are the blue ribbon games, but The visitors tend not to flow once the games are over. When citizens have to choose to pay, they can easily see that the price being asked by the IOC rent seekers is too much.


It seems to me that it would be a huge source of sadness when the Olympics, born in Democratic Greece will only be shopped around to countries who are autocratic and used to cover how un-democratic they are.

Edited by The NZA
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related? AP: Rio's waters for Olympic Games contain "dangerously high levels of human feces"





RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Athletes in next year's Summer Olympics here will be swimming and boating in waters so contaminated with human feces that they risk becoming violently ill and unable to compete in the games, an Associated Press investigation has found.


An AP analysis of water quality revealed dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from human sewage in Olympic and Paralympic venues — results that alarmed international experts and dismayed competitors training in Rio, some of whom have already fallen ill with fevers, vomiting and diarrhea.


It is the first independent comprehensive testing for both viruses and bacteria at the Olympic sites.


Brazilian officials have assured that the water will be safe for the Olympic athletes and the medical director of the International Olympic Committee said all was on track for providing safe competing venues. But neither the government nor the IOC tests for viruses, relying on bacteria testing only.


The concentrations of the viruses in all tests were roughly equivalent to that seen in raw sewage — even at one of the least-polluted areas tested, the Copacabana Beach, where marathon and triathlon swimming will take place and where many of the expected 350,000 foreign tourists may take a dip.


"Everybody runs the risk of infection in these polluted waters," said Dr. Carlos Terra, a hepatologist and head of a Rio-based association of doctors specializing in the research and treatment of liver diseases.


Kristina Mena, a U.S. expert in risk assessment for waterborne viruses, examined the AP data and estimated that international athletes at all water venues would have a 99 percent chance of infection if they ingested just three teaspoons of water — though whether a person will fall ill depends on immunity and other factors.


Besides swimmers, athletes in sailing, canoeing and to a lesser degree rowing often get drenched when competing, and breathe in mist as well. Viruses can enter the body through the mouth, eyes, any orifice, or even a small cut.



The Rodrigo de Freitas Lake, which was largely cleaned up in recent years, was thought be safe for rowers and canoers. Yet AP tests found its waters to be among the most polluted for Olympic sites, with results ranging from 14 million adenoviruses per liter on the low end to 1.7 billion per liter at the high end.


By comparison, water quality experts who monitor beaches in Southern California become alarmed if they see viral counts reaching 1,000 per liter.


"If I were going to be in the Olympics," said Griffith, the California water expert, "I would probably go early and get exposed and build up my immunity system to these viruses before I had to compete, because I don't see how they're going to solve this sewage problem."


However, Dr. Richard Budgett, the medical director for the International Olympic Committee, said after seeing the AP findings that the IOC and Brazilian authorities should stick to their program of testing only for bacteria to determine whether the water is safe for athletes.


"We've had reassurances from the World Health Organization and others that there is no significant risk to athlete health," he told the AP on the sidelines of an IOC meeting in Malaysia.

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