The Olympic Games are one of the most attractive grand meetings all over the world. Now they have been the symbol of peace and friendships. There are always numerous cities competing in obtaining the qualification of holding the Olympic Games. This event has a significant impact on the host country. Do the benefits of holding the Olympic Games outweigh the drawbacks for the host country? Some people might argue that the Olympic Games bring so many people to the host country that the cities will be super-crowded and the transport system swamped by Olympic traffic. Thus, local residents’ daily lives are severely disturbed. What is more, the Olympic Games may cause the overheating of economy which probably leads to currency inflation. However, from my point of view, holding the Olympic Games has great benefits for the host country and the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. In this essay, the impact of holding Olympic Games to the host country is analysed from the data collected after the previous Olympic Games, through various aspects, including social impact, economic impact, cultural impact, etc.
Different from other sports events, the Olympic Games is a grand international event that embraces various elements as sports, politics, economics, culture, environment, etc.(Ren, 2006) As a multi-dimensional and comprehensive event, it has always been complete challenge to the host country.
The first reason why the benefits of holding the Olympic Games outweigh the draw backs for the host country is the ripple effect on economic growth. The Olympic Games generally stimulates the economics from three aspects: the pre-game infrastructure construction and upgrade, official Olympic products and tickets, Olympic boosted host city construction and regional economy development. Moreover, the long-term economic will also benefit from media exposure, job creation and continuous tourism, etc.
According to National Bureau of Statistics of China, during the investment period for 2008 Beijing Olympics from 2005 to 2008, the annual average growth rate of GDP of Beijing raised by 0.8% to 11.8%. During the year of 2004 to 2008, the Olympics related Beijing GDP has reached up to 105.5 billion CNY. Meanwhile, according to general administration of sport of China, the direct Olympics economic benefits is around 41.9 billion USD during the 8 years from 2003 to 2010. And it reaches to 71.7 billion USD including other industries stimulated by the Olympic Games. (Anon, 2008)
Therefore, hosting the Olympic Games has a significant positive ripple effect on economic growth and will last over time.
The second reason to support that the social benefits outweigh the drawbacks is that holding Olympic Games helps to create jobs and strengthen the awareness about social issues. The social significance of hosting Olympic Games is to involve as many people as possible in the entire world and enhance social cohesion. It is just like the London 2012 slogan ‘Inspire a Generation’. The social impacts generated by hosting Olympic Games can be seen from the following aspects: jobs creation, volunteer participation, social cohesion, legal perfection, sense of social responsibility and ways of thinking.
According to Beijing Statistics Bureau, there were over 1.5 million job positions created during the four years from 2005 to 2008. About 20% of those positions would be stabilized afterwards. Meanwhile, according to Beijing Commission of Communist Youth League of China, there were around 1.7 million volunteers involved in Beijing Olympics, which had smashed the record for the most volunteer participation. (Anon, 2008)
Some people may claim that all the social impacts related to Olympic Games are indirect impacts following increased awareness of social issues. It was from the time that Beijing won the bid for hosting 2008 Olympics that people had been raising their concern about environment and treatment for those with disabilities. (Shen, et al., 2011) As it also has taken Beijing Olympics as an opportunity, China started to listen to overseas media, pay attention to follow international rules, and raise civil quality.
All these suggests that host Olympic Games will inspire the whole society as to the level of humanity other than economy.
Another supportive reason is hosting Olympic Games could help bringing the culture from the host country to the world. Jonathan Reekie from the Aldeburgh World Orchestra has indicated that the Olympics once valued sports and culture equally, but recently turned its focus to sports. He also mentioned that London Olympics was going to highlight the importance of cultural impact in Olympic Games.
An attractive opening ceremony is half success. As a first impression to the world of each Olympic Games, no host country would ruin the opportunity to present the whole world a magnificent opening ceremony with its own cultural characteristics.
China, as an ancient civilization with over five thousand years cultural history, made the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics not only a miniature of China civilization but also a splendid demonstration of the four great inventions of ancient China. It promoted the communication of Chinese culture and foreign culture in just an hour art performance. (Peaslee & Berggreen, 2012) Not coincidentally, London has chosen to present a unique British culture by a green and natural style. The London Olympics opening ceremony presented exactly the history, cultural heritage and modern social customs of the British Isles.
The Olympic Games is a great sport event. Moreover, it is a cultural pageant that exposes the features in all aspects of the host country from the games.
It is not an apparent but sensitive reason that hosting Olympic Games has a great political influence in a unique way. Although IOC has always claimed that Olympics is independent of politics, the political power has never been separated from Olympics. Actually, politicians have always been one of the most important motivations that drive the Olympics.
The reason why Olympics would help with political wrangling is quite obvious, the media exposure. Meanwhile, the economic impact, social impact and cultural impact mentioned above, are all closely inseparable with political influences. (Maguire, 2011)
Media exposure could promote the entire economy, culture and political relationships of the host country. Direct and indirect incomes from tourism, job creation and television rights could greatly stimulate the development of local economy. This matches the purpose of political propaganda and political benefit. And in the following four years after London Olympics, Prime Minister David Cameron claims that home businesses worth £13 billion will be made. And it matches his political objective, boost the British economy. (Hennessy, 2012)
London Mayor Boris Johnson also sees the political impact of Olympic Games. This could quite well explain his frequently showing off during Olympic time.
The Olympic Games, to some degree, it represents the economic and political power of the host country, and clearly shows its political position in a legible but inconspicuous way.
Olympic Games has various potential impacts to the host country. Thus the host country could have a range of choices to make it in the national interests and set the national objective for the game. Host countries often selectively highlight some features of the game to their own needs to seek for maximized national interests.
The valuation of Olympic Games should not be restricted to the game period. Pre-game and post-game development must be count into the influences of hosting the game. There has always been massive investment, visible and invisible, to host the game. It could involve an entire city, and even change the image of a country. (Qing, et al., 2010)
Although the adverse impacts cannot be neglected, by maximizing the positive influences, hosting Olympic Games could be a great opportunity leading to a leap of the country.