While the Olympic host city is the center of worldwide attention for several weeks every two years, after the games have ended, most locations are lucky to receive even a snippet of media coverage. This lack of coverage often leads to the city disappearing into oblivion with its numerous predecessors.
According to a New York Times article posted Sunday, February 23, “Sochi is at risk of becoming a gold-rush town that just ran out of gold.” Unlike many host cities, Sochi was largely undeveloped prior to Russia receiving the Olympic bid in 2007. Therefore, President Putin had more than 220 miles of roads and bridges and 700 sports grounds built and revamped the power grid, airport, and sewage system.
Now, the city faces a seemingly impossible feat of drawing more than 5 million visitors per year to keep its hotels occupied and economy persisting.
This issue introduces the question: is the cost of the Olympic games (not solely the monetary cost) greater than the benefit? If Sochi will become a detriment to Russia’s national economy in years to come, was it worth the billions spent in the first place?
After reading the aforementioned article, I feel that the Olympic games are no longer just intense sports competition between nations, but instead, a fight to see who can put on the most elaborate display for the rest of the world.