by David Sung
The 2012 Summer Olympics are quickly approaching – an anticipated spectacle that arrives every four years to capture the hearts of the international community. At the start of this year’s Olympics, London will be the only city in history to host the games three times. The last time the city raised the Olympic banners, the world was recuperating from the Second World War that ended only three years prior to the games. Despite this, 10 new countries joined the competition with a 141 increase in competitors across all sports.
One of the allures of the Olympics is the host cities ability to showcase the strengths of the country and best previous games - which is an event all on its own. The world witnessed the most expensive games in 2008 as China spent $40 billion to host the games in Beijing. While not exactly on trend with previous budgets (Athens - $15B, Sydney - $3.8B, Atlanta $1.8B, Barcelona $9.4B), Beijing became an example of how large a financial commitment hosting the Games can be. This is especially true for countries, like China, which had limited infrastructure and needed to rebuild the city to manage the influx of people.
But London is different.
With venues like Wimbledon Lawn, Lord’s Cricket Ground and Wembley Stadium, London has a substantial history of hosting large events. So where will the estimated $14.5 billion budget be evident for Olympic goers? Most notably Olympic Park and Village. This micro city is the site for eight events and newly constructed Velodrome, Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Centre venues just to name a few. Not to mention heightened security ($826.7 million) and impressive pageantry during official ceremonies ($125.6 million).
Outside of the Olympic Park, measured improvements were made to older venues, the city’s logistics system and several beautification projects. The Olympic committee spent $519,646 on the Jurassic Stone sculpture by artist Richard Harris that welcomes guests to the Sailing Village.
One thing is for sure, the London 2012 games will uphold the tradition of bringing the best in athleticism and pageantry to the world stage.