Olympic Bids and Mega-Events

About Emerging Discourses

The goal of Emerging Discourses  is to address issues facing modern sport in a more flexible, approachable way. This series will bring perspectives from scholars, researchers, practitioners, and members of the private sector together to answer one simple question per issue. For this issue, we've asked the question:

 "Weighing the possible outcomes, do you believe that hosting the Olympic games can be beneficial for a host city?"


Kylie Wasser

PhD Candidate - Western University

Kylie sits down for an insightful interview with Taylor McKee, Andrew Pettit, and Jared Walters to discuss parasport, Olympic bids, and mega-events. 

Follow Kylie on Twitter here


Kent Wilson

Calgary Contributor - The Athletic

"What's particularly strange about the Olympics is they have become funding schemes for local governments. In Canada, civic governments only have one funding mechanism: property taxes. Otherwise, they have to go to the Provincial and Federal governments, hat in hand. The Olympics, then, are now a mechanism to concentrate enough political will to pour in bonus funding from the other levels of governments, money that may not have been made available otherwise. This is why you see local politicians, economic development groups, and community organizer types get behind a bid. "

Click here to read Kent's full response

Full Response

Robert K. Barney

Professor Emeritus - Western University

"When a group of civic-minded citizens of an urban metropolis arrives at a decision to “go for the gold” and lodge a bid to the International Olympic Committee to host “the greatest sports show on earth,” as well as the most expensive, a fundamental requirement is to accompany such a bid with a declaration of citizen support for the project. This is most often reflected in the form of a referendum result. And why not! After all, it is the city’s citizenry, current and future, that will bear the tax burden costs inherent in the long-term maintenance and operation of the facilities and infrastructure in place after the great festival has “left town;” in effect, to put in vernacular terms, they’ll have to “live with it.” This “dilemma” is brought home to us in graphic fashion by a development in Denver, Colorado as I write this essay. "

Click here to read Barney's full response

Full response

Andrew Pettit

PhD Candidate - Western University

"Thus, what I am proposing to do with this piece is not to argue that the benefits actually outweigh the costs, but to imagine how we might be able to reduce the costs in such a way that cities and their governments may find the opportunity to host the Olympics Games far more favourably again. To make this task even more difficult, I will proceed with such an undertaking with the goal of making the Olympic Games more attractive in its current state of it being a city, and not an entire country, that is charged with hosting the Games. "

Click here to read Pettit's full response 

Full Response