Step by step, jump by jump, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are coming to an end. In just a couple of days, the athletes will abandon their 'anti-sex' cardboard beds and return to their normal regime. If we consider tirelessly maxing out your human capabilities normal, that is.
So, we at Bored Panda decided it's the perfect time to put together a new list of memes that sum up this amazing spectacle. Continue scrolling to check out the pictures and catch up on the series here.
In 2013, when it bid for the 2020 Summer Games, Tokyo estimated it would spend $7.3 billion. However, by summer 2020, an Oxford economist told the Associated Press that Tokyo’s costs had already more than doubled to $15.84 billion and became the most expensive Summer Games on record. Local organizers have disputed that number but they admitted in December 2019 that costs had risen to $12.6 billion.
Competing estimates from a national audit board and national newspaper are even higher, saying it could be nearly $30 billion.
Of course, these Olympics are special. The city had to postpone the Games for a year after Covid-19 made hosting the international event impossible, and to top it all off, the city won’t receive the tourism boom that usually accompanies the event.
But a 2020 paper by Oxford economist Bent Flyvbjerg discovered an interesting fact: "every Olympics since 1960 has run over budget, at an average of 172 percent in real terms, the highest overrun on record for any type of megaproject."
In other words, there might be something wrong with the Olympics bidding process as a whole.
As Vox pointed out, some of the supposed benefits of hosting the Olympics have come under scrutiny by locals and economists alike. Economists Victor Matheson and Robert Baade outlined the potential benefits as "the short-run benefits of tourist spending during the Games; the long-run benefits of the ‘Olympic legacy’ which might include improvements in infrastructure and increased trade, foreign investment or tourism after the Games; and intangible benefits such as the ‘feel-good effect’ or civic pride."
The Games can also provide a brief employment benefit and stimulative effect. But it's not as significant as we might think: "Overwhelmingly, the studies show actual economic impacts that are either near-zero or a fraction of that predicted prior to the event," Matheson and Baade write.
Pacific University professor Jules Boykoff criticized the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for running itself like a "profit-gobbling cartel."
"For too long, the IOC has claimed that the city doesn’t have to build new infrastructure, that it’s the city’s decision. Of course, host cities have to build new venues if they actually want to host the Games. Whitewater kayak venues don’t grow on trees," Boykoff wrote in a 2017 Los Angeles Times column. "In truth, the IOC chips in for operating costs by essentially laundering money from its lucrative corporate sponsorships and television rights deals. That’s all well and good, but it’s time the organization stepped up and contributed to infrastructure costs as well."
As the Tokyo Olympics plays out in virtually empty stadiums, the IOC will continue raking in profits but it's the Japanese people who will have to pay the bill.