I don’t think that anyone could have predicted this, but apparently it is quite expensive to host the Olympics. Original cost estimates have this way of ballooning over time and suddenly people aren’t so keen on paying for it all.
Today’s tale of olympic price over-runs is in the vancouver sun where we learn that building the Paralympic sledge hocky arena may now be too expensive for Whistler.
The price tag for Whistler to build a bells-and-whistles 2,750-seat arena in the village for Paralympic sledge hockey may force the resort municipality to abandon the project.
It could also result in much of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games being moved to Vancouver.
Nearly four weeks after telling a council meeting that the cost, now believed to be in the $45-million to $50-million range and the long-term operating costs, were “more than we can comfortably afford,” Mayor Ken Melamed says it may be too late to salvage the project.
“There comes a point in time when we can’t physically build it in time,” Melamed said. “Frankly, we may have crossed it.”
Meanwhile Athens struggles to find a use for Olympic venues built there for the 2004 olympics.
In what critics say is a checklist of how not to do things for future Olympic cities, especially London in 2012, Athens is still struggling to find use for the state-of-the-art venues it paid more than 3.5 billion euros ($4.50 billion) to build.
Promising to showcase modern Greece, the Games went off without a hitch despite years of construction delays, but left a legacy of over-spending and venues in a state of abandon.
The wild water canoe and kayak facility was hailed as the world’s best, as were the rowing centre and the weightlifting arena.
But two years after the Games that cost a record 12 billion euros, most venues remain fully or partly shut as the government desperately seeks private investors, the only viable option to recoup some of the funds pumped in to build and maintain them.
“We cannot keep them as Soviet-style sports venues alone. What would Greece do with the world’s best canoe and kayak facility?” said Christos Hadjiemmanouil, the head of the company managing most Olympic venues.