Any red-blooded---as opposed to a green-blooded, perhaps someone related to a Vulcan---American citizen was raised to believe in the Olympics(r). Every four years, we were treated to the thrill of victory and the agony of competition in two sets of Olympics, summer and winter. In the 1990s, the Winter Olympics(r) were moved to the other set of even-numbered years instead of being staged, along with the Summer Games(r) every Leap Year. Perhaps the motive there were to give the viewers and the athletes some kind of break.
Then again, there is the matter of money.
The Olympics(r) cost money to host. The Games(r)---I put the trademark there just to cover myself; I do not want to be sued by someone of the Olympic Committee(r) tipped off by a source from the NSA that monitors United States blogs that there was unauthorized use of one of the organization's trademarks---have put a major hit on some of the countries that have played host.
This phenomenon---monetary losses from government subsidies of sports---has been a topic at the blog "Field of Schemes" dot com. Communities that strive to play host to sports events and franchises and, in that effort, pony up large sums of money, do not profit from what has been shown, over the decades, to be folly. Indianapolis lost money on the 2012 Super Bowl(r)---how much we may never know. A lot of red ink may have been covered over by creative accountants and politicians who moved items that were required by the NFL(r)---Regional Operations Center ("ROC") anyone?---to still show the City broke about even, while the poor Capital Improvements Board ("CIB") lost a little.
The negative financial impact of the Olympics(r), however, truly is of Olympian---used generically, so no trademark need be applied---proportions. The 1976 Games(r) in Montreal caused financial havoc for that urban area in Quebec. Things were so bad, when the Olympic Torch (r) blew out, a guy had to climb a step-ladder and re-light it with a Zippo(r)---true story about it being blown out, but I think they had the funds to start up the other torch and light it again. I still chuckle at memories of the guy on the step-ladder, though.
Nations have tried to use the role of host of the Olympics(r) as a showcase of sorts. The Weimar Republic in Germany had signed on to host the Games(r) in 1936. Hitler still struggled to gain power for his Thousand-Year Reich. Once he was Chancellor of Germany, he wanted der World to see what Germans could do. Leni Riefenstahl was a brilliant cinematographer and shot a lot of film of the Games(r). The Nazis spent a lot. We may never know how much they lost. A lot of the ledgers probably were burned in the Battle of Berlin. However, Hitler appears to have treated foreign gay athletes better than Vladimir Putin has done. Hitler announced Germany's anti-gay law, "Paragraph 175," would not be enforced against foreign athletes during the Olympics.(r) Putin has not made a similar statement, to the best of my knowledge.Parts of venues from the 1936 Games(r) still stand, rotting away, near Berlin.
Munich hosted the 1972 Games(r). A train station sits, abandoned, near the center of the Olympic Village(r) (where Israeli athletes were murdered).
In 1984 Sarajevo hosted the Winter Games(r). Now, 30 years later, one may see bobsled runs abandoned and rotting---funny how those words pop up when we talk about former Olympic(r) venues---in what now is Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 2004 Summer Games(r) in Athens had such cost overruns some blame the Greek economic upheavals of the past few years on that country's efforts to play host. Even in Beijing, former Olympic(r) venues rot. Bot how can anyone see them, really, with smog so bad one cannot even see the sun rise?
The Games(r) have been hosted by despots: Hitler---tough to beat him as the poster child for despots---the ruling junta of China (not really a Communist State, just a big collective that denies human rights), and now that bare-chested man muffin Vladimir Putin. The projected cost of the Games(r) in the summer resort of Sochi was $12 billion. The cost has skyrocketed to $51 billion. Probably it will go higher.
The Games(r) are staged in a place where human rights are discarded as quickly as a strike from a drone over a country against which the United States has no formal declaration of war. Yesterday, I saw kossaks with whip-like weapons beat members of Pussy Riot who demonstrated against the Russian regime. Yet the networks want to focus on the thrill of victory and the agony of competition---I know, but that bastardized version of the slogan is from Firesign Theatre.
The Olympics nearly can bankrupt a city. But political insiders in such places make handsome profits at the expense of citizens when contracts for construction of these really fancy veenues are let out. Why hasn't Mayor Ballard put in a bid for Indy to play host?
Today we shall stream live, from 11 am to 1 pm at The Varsity Lounge on North Penn. Our guests will be City-County Councilor Zach Adamson, Annette Siegal Gross of P-Flag, via Skype from the Bronx LGBT activist Tania Domi,,and also from P-Flag, Dina Roberts-Wakulczyk. Our focus will be on discrimination against LGBT people in Russia. Of course, as the mayor of Sochi said a couple of weeks ago, there is no discrimination against gay people in his city, because there are no gay people in Sochi. Right, Mr. Mayor. And you won't send a government check in a citizen's mouth.