It seems that every time I glimpse a bit of the Olympic competition on television I try to piece together what it really looks like in Sochi, Russia. What are the logistics like for the competitors, I wonder. How fun is it truly to be at these games for spectators? There seems to be a lot of concrete and distance between.
These Olympic games have been advertised as the most expensive ever. I get the hard work, dreams, failures, and glory that is part of the long shot that is the Olympics games, but what about the nations that put out so much to host the summer or winter Olympics?
As the 2014 Winter Olympics began, I commented to my mother, "Here we go again, we get to see the pageantry and best face of a country, and then what? Remember watching the winter Olympics in Yugolavia in 1984, it really expanded my world, then within years the country was in war and all that real and imagined beauty was wiped out. Remember Greece - they fell into financial ruin during and after the Athens Olympics." I worry about these cities.
I'm not convinced the Olympics are always a blessing to the host city. Does it have to be so extravagant?
We are just talking about sports, mano a mano, competition. Will the price tag of the event be doomed to escalate and escalate; each city trying to top the last? The athletes go home with the medals while the country is left with a enormous bill, no motivation to finsh what was not completed before the games, and a large mark upon the land.
I have been lucky to attend both the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Both were incredibly memorable experiences and the pride for country and athlete was real. The atmosphere of being at the olympics is fabulous, but please don't bring it to my town in the modern era.
This is obviously a graphic artist's rendition of what must have been one of the initial dreams for the layout of the Olympics in Sochi - because this sure ain't what it looks like.
|Study this image closely and you will see all sorts of structures that were never built and land bulldozed over including those nice homes with land at the water front. click to enlarge|
This must have been another dream.
|Now that is an elevated train.|
This is what Sochi really looks like - beach front property on the Black Sea:
|Multiple mountain venues|
Cost: 50 Billion
Number of events: 98
Countries represented: 88
Number of athletes: 2850
Price per athlete: 1,754,385.96 (yeah that is 1.7 mil each for the chance of a lifetime)
Number of medals: 294
Medal Standings: The Medals Race
Test your Olympic trivia knowledge: Olympic Fun Facts
The Netherlands has won 22 medals to date in the 2014 Winter Olympics, with this small team of incredible athletes:
The United States has won 23 medals so far, here was our team at opening ceremonies. A herd of 1.7 million dollar athletes:
Closing ceremonies are this Sunday!