The Olympics is one of the few events where people from all over the world gather together. People are competing for their home country while achieving individual accomplishments and record-breaking scores. It is a time of gathering and celebration. However, in order to make this event possible, the host country has to plan years in advance. Sports venues, athletes' accommodations, and transportation improvements are all necessary to prepare for the crowds. The venues, in particular, have received criticism over the past several decades. From the economy perspective, their creation costs are high with a low utility after the event. From the social perspective, millions of people were forced to move in order to make space for the constructions.
After the Olympics ends, the host country is always answering one question: what do we do with the facilities? For example, in order to keep the sliding center built for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea, the annual spend would be around $2.84 million. This is just one of the many facilities built. The overall maintenance cost for the 2018 Winter Olympics is about $18.89 million per year. Another example is the Sochi Olympics held in Russia in 2014. The operation, maintenance, and foregone interest all add up to around $1.2 billion per year.
With the high expenses to keep the facilities open, experts are suggesting alternative uses of the venues. The Richmond Speed Skating Oval was built for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. This venue has been repurposed and continues to benefit the community. Today, it hosts hockey games, speed skating, and even an indoor area for other sports. The building draws a crowd of 550,000 visitors each year. The Utah Olympic Park hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and has been repurposed for tourism.
Overall, the majority of the facilities are still creating deficits in the economy. However, governments around the world are hoping that one day the venues will be put into good use. From tourism to community sports centers, the possibilities are endless. However, it does take careful planning and community support to make repurposing successful. Let us look towards China's plan for the facilities after this year's Olympics.