Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Send the Olympics back to Greece

Bloomberg et al are lamenting New York's (quite predictable, to my mind) loss of the Olympics to London. Though I know we need the money, I have to say that I was not looking forward to having more fannypack wearing tourists trudging around the city, um, seven years from now.

Here's what should happen with the Olympics:
The Olympics should be in Athens, Greece.


That's where the games started, that's where they should be. Greece has all the stadia and venues in place from their successful turn as host in 2004. As a result of the investment made in anticipation of those Games, the Greek economy grew the fastest of any nation in the EU in 2003. Think of what the promise of such a surge in available jobs would do for Greece's unemployment figures, now hovering around 10%. (At the very least, they'd have to hire more dog-killers. OK, that wasn't funny.)
As tourism is now 70% of their GDP, hosting the Olympics from now on would perhaps give them the push they need so they wouldn't need to rely so much on aid from the EU.

This idea has been suggested before, and I think it should be reconsidered, if only to put an end to the seemingly endless corruption plagueing the IOC. Plus, we spent 35 million just trying to get the games. We could have saved that money and put it toward the High Line, or maybe even a new stadium.


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