Olympic Sized Impact?

We wrote a Weekend Word about 18 months ago about the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics and their impact.  With next week marking the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea we thought we would revisit Rio, and take a quick look at PyeongChang. 

Hosting the Olympics is often a double-edged sword.  The Olympics bring increased tourism and awareness to the host country but generally come with an insane cost to build the infrastructure.  The real determining factor is the use of the new infrastructure after the games and some cities/ countries have been better at this than others. 

Looking back at the 2016 Olympic Games impact on Rio we find a little bit of both.  The Rio games cost roughly $5 billion dollars.  According to the Olympic Committee, that money was used to create 70 new hotels, hire and train roughly 16,000 people.  According to a survey conducted by the Social Policy Center the Rio economy “took off after the announcement of the Olympic venue, but once picked, the growth has not weakened” and at the heart of it was job creation counting for 82% of the economic growth.

As of right now the 2018 Winter Games are projected to cost right around $2.4 billion (of which roughly $165,000 was spent just on the medals).  South Korea, in addition to building the various parks and hotels, has also added a highspeed rail line to connect PyeongChang and Seoul.  Early estimates project an economic impact $28.2 billion over the next decade and to create 230,000 jobs.  They hope all they have done allows them to emulate the sustained boom that the 1972 Olympics had on the rural Japanese city, Sapporo.

Obviously, the real impact of either of these games won’t be felt for years to come but the outlook is somewhat promising in both cases.  So, here’s to the USA coming out with the most medals, and a good safe winter games.