The justification in bidding for London 2012 was to encourage greater participation in sporting activity, especially in children, and to regenerate the East End of London in particular. Five years on, the legacy promised has caused debate. Some of the facilities used during the games are now open to the public, like the velodrome and aquatic centre, with the Olympic Stadium as West Ham's home ground. Realistically though, the Olympic Park is a desolate area, with little activity happening. Additionally, participation levels for sports clubs have shown little increase since the games. Although the games themselves were enjoyable, the legacy promised is clearly yet to be fulfilled.
The 2010 Winter Olympics were the third games held in Canada, and one of the most ecological and green in the history. One of the main goals for the Vancouver Organizing Committee was to build environmentally friendly facilities. Once the Olympics were finished, the villages for the athletes were used as the models and examples of sustainable living in the country. But the Olympics in the beautiful Canadian city was not only about building eco-friendly constructions. The games encouraged people to help during the preparation and become volunteers. More than 70,000 locals became volunteers throughout the games, and it created a lot of job positions in the market.
When hosting a major sports tournament the organisers want to show to the world the great things about their cities, right? Well considering Delhi is one of the poorest, most congested and smelliest capitals in the world I’m sure they wanted to keep athletes away from the reality when they went 40 times over budget – that’s £7 billion. 400,000 people from slums were relocated without proper resettlement, 70 workers died in construction and those who survived were paid as little as £1 a day. All this under the control of politicians and contractors who have since been charged with corruption. Oops.
The Summer Olympics of 2008 took place in Beijing, the capital of China. The most expensive and at the same time the most watched Olympics in history created controversial opinions in the public. More than 30 new stadiums were built, the main subway of Beijing was doubled, and the new terminal was added to the airport. But while the great infrastructure and perfect facilities for the games were created, the preparation had its downsides as well. Unfair treatment of immigrant workers, the forcible removal of millions of people and big pollution was created. This event had both positive and negative impacts on the metropolitan city.
State corruption, money laundering, Zika virus, security issues, pollution, and infrastructural nightmares… You wouldn’t be entirely wrong in thinking that the reputation of Rio de Janeiro as an Olympic host city didn’t get off to the best of starts. But it looks like it didn’t get off to the best of ‘ends’ either; just six months after the games, we were flooded with reports of the looting of Maracana Stadium, the water in one of the practise pools turning orange, and the whole Olympic Park being reduced to a ghost town. The summer games were meant to bring Rio to new heights, both athletically and also on the world stage, but as the impoverished favelas continue to overlook the neglected structures that cost the city so much, it’s difficult to see what Rio really gained from winning that Olympic bid back in 2009.
The popularity of sporting events continues to increase, with events like the World Cup and Olympics attended and watched by millions. However, although these events can positively boost the economies of the host countries, they may not always be as positive as they seem. Take Qatar for instance, who are hosting the 2022 World Cup. The Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International highlight the “serious exploitation” of the migrant workers hired to build the infrastructure, with migrants workers being vulnerable to systematic abuse. More needs to be done in order to ensure major world sporting events don’t contribute towards enabling poor behaviour.