The Real Cost of the Olympics and World Cup

Regular readers of this blog know that I often encourage people to exercise more and make such simple lifestyle changes as taking the stairs instead of a lift. The subject of today’s blog may therefore come as a surprise to some of you. Some of you may really disagree with my view here, but I only ask that you think on the issues raised with an open mind.
Recently London was the host to the Olympic Games. In the middle of a economic recession and two foreign wars we decide to spend thousands of millions on what are mainly some pretty mediocre spectator sports? All sorts of unlikely justifications were made for having the Olympics. It was claimed that it would stimulate the economy. It never has done in most countries that have hosted the Olympics. Britain is now downsizing its army, police services and medical services due to a budgetary deficit that is oddly very close to what was spent on the Olympics. The Olympics were going to improve public fitness by encouraging people to take up sports. Three solid weeks of spectator sports are going to encourage people to not sit on their sofas snacking? Many of those few who did feel inspired to take up sports probably injured themselves by overdoing it. So we won a few golds in some events? What changes has that made to our lives? Just we have to sit through a few lame advertisements featuring sports personalities. For the amount of money spent we could have saved money minting a gold medal for every single person in the British Isles.
It was very interested to hear Brazil was hosting the World Cup and Olympics. Even more interesting was the suggestion that the favelas were to be knocked down to make way for the Olympic village. My Brazilian girlfriend’s response was one of amazement. “There will be a civil war! Last time they tried anything against the favelas they went into police stations and shot everyone!”
Olympic host cities have historically cleared away and marginalized their homeless in advance of the games. Over the twenty years prior to Brazil the Olympics has displaced over two million people. This figure has undoubtedly increased since the Rio games and World Cup.