Give Greece Back Her Olympics…For Good!


The Olympics belong back in Greece. Hosting the games in a different country every four years invites chaos, corruption, and redundant infrastructure. The Salzburg Music Festival or the Rose Bowl would not be held in Akron or Burkina Faso. Why would you host the Olympics someplace other than the birthplace of the games? As the kids say, doing anything else is cultural appropriation. (Set aside the fact that Ancient Greece is already responsible for three-quarters of Western civilization.)

The Olympics were invented in Greece and express Greek ideals about the beauty and grace of strong physical skills. These ideals are universally acknowledged, which is why countries from all over the world participate. They’d be just as eager to take part if the Olympics stayed put, in Greece.

The fundamental justification for bringing the Olympics back to Greece, however, is not cultural, but practical. Moving this travelling performance from country to country is an expensive waste. The Olympics are almost always run badly, if only because hosting them necessitates learning specialised skills in a field that the host city has never done before, or at least not in recent memory.

The competitiveness to be chosen as the host country invites financial corruption. It’s also a near-tragic exercise in redundancy to build the facilities where they’ll be staged. Is there a limit to how many former Olympic villages the world needs?

The Greeks, of course, would have to be consulted on the subject. Greece is not a wealthy country. It shouldn’t have to bear the entire cost of infrastructure construction on its own (or updating the infrastructure that Athens built to host the Olympics in 2004). Perhaps the IOC might be able to split some broadcast income, which would provide a strong incentive for the Greeks to conduct the event properly. All participating countries should contribute, with perhaps the European Union contributing the most.

Pontians perform passionately at the Athens 2004 Closing Ceremony in Greece:

Christine Lagarde has spoken out in favour of bringing the Olympics back to Greece. The European Central Bank might be able to get things started. The Germans may grumble a little—they’re still bitter over being forced to bail out Greece during the Eurozone crisis—but hosting the Olympics might provide Greece with the steady money flow it needs to avoid another financial crisis.

In 2016, at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, the Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, agreed that the Olympic Games should be hosted permanently in Greece.

“The Greek economy is damaged. Debt is a huge problem. The Olympic Games are a huge catastrophe for Rio and the IOC’s selection process is rather complicated”, the festival’s VP and organizer Kitty Boone said while discussing the issue on stage with Lagarde.

“The Olympics could be permanently hosted in their home in Athens, strengthening its economy and tourism, and offering an environmentally safe site” – Kitty Boone

“I think it’s a great idea for immediate use”, Ms Lagarde replied, adding that the idea of Greece hosting the Olympic Games on a permanent basis could boost the country’s economy.

It will be difficult for Greece to host the Olympics for the first couple of times. You can count on Sports Illustrated to be ruthless. However, by the third time around, the Greeks will most likely have figured it out. It is said that practise makes perfect. Greeks are capable of great things. The rest of us can stop whining about how unprepared this or that country was for the influx of people landing on its shores every four years. Instead, we can all down a shot of Ouzo, or Tsipouro, or for the ladies KLEOS Mastiha Spirit, nibble on some calamari, spanakopita, and enjoy the games in their home every four years.

Referenced from Timothy Noah’s story for Washington Monthly


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