The Olympics

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Impacts of Beijing 2008
An appraisal of the impact of the Beijing Olympics presented by Lee Sands considered that, ‘the huge inflows of investment to support the Olympics and recreate Beijing have had an important ripple effect on economic growth’. To prepare for the games, China invested nearly $40 billion in infrastructure alone from 2002 to 2006, transformed the cityscape of Beijing. Furthermore, the Olympics have had a significant influence on Beijing's economic development, environment, and the growth of the country's advertising, television, Internet, mobile phone, clean energy, and sports sectors. Development has also impacted on refurbishment of 25 historic areas, including many of the city's landmarks, old streets, and fourcorner residences that date from the imperial period; and restoration of Beijing's many historic places, including the Forbidden City. An analysis by Tobias Birkendorf agreed with this, and considered that economic growth can be attributed to the Beijing Olympic Games primarily by the realisation of necessary infrastructure investments and that investment led to improvements of the overall production conditions for domestic and foreign enterprises, making investment for private enterprises in Beijing more attractive. Both Sands’ and Birkendorf’s evaluations focused on the benefits of the investment in the Olympic Games themselves, and did not point to longer-term economic benefits. Other studies agree with this conclusion, that the longer-term economic impact of the games on China, and Beijing in particular, is not yet clear. Some sectors of the economy may have benefited from the influx of tourists, but other sectors, such as manufacturing, lost revenue due to plant closings related to the government's efforts to improve air quality. Many evaluations of the benefits of the Olympics are pessimistic, and it is generally expected by economists that there will be no lasting effects on the city's economy as a result of the games.

Impacts of Athens 2004
Preparations to stage the Athens Olympics were estimated in 2004 to be $11.2 billion and led to a number of positive developments for the city's infrastructure (airport, metro system, the metropolitan tram (light rail) system, a new toll motorway encircling the city, and the conversion of streets into pedestrianised walkways in the historic center of Athens). This infrastructure is still in use, and there have been continued expansions and proposals to expand Athens' metro, tram, suburban rail and motorway network, the airport, as well as further plans to pedestrianize more thoroughfares in the historic center of Athens. In 2008, however, it was reported that almost all of the Olympic venues had fallen into varying states of disrepair and that the annual cost to maintain the sites was estimated at £500 million. This conclusion is supported by other reports. Consistent with recent literature in this area, Kasimati and Dawson considered that whilst the impact effects were quite strong during the preparation phase and the year the Games took place, the long-term economic legacy effects appear to be quite modest. Regarding the impact on housing, a report written by Theodoros Alexandridis 12 considered that‘the final lines of the chapter of modern Greece entitled “Olympic Games 2004” have yet to be written. An important part of the Olympic heritage has yet to be taken advantage of, constituting for the time being more of a burden than an asset.’ Regarding housing, the Olympic Games left Athens with a significant infrastructure that will ameliorate the living conditions of all its inhabitants, while the Olympic village will, despite all the problems it has encountered, provide a house to approximately 3,000 families, an important contribution to social housing in Greece.

Impacts of Sydney 2000
Price Waterhouse Coopers concluded that the Sydney Olympic Games delivered substantial benefits to Sydney, New South Wales and Australia. These included: •...
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