With the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics underway, everyone focuses on the athletes’ performances and the show they put on. It’s one of the biggest events in sports competitions after all so it makes perfect sense for the whole world to stay tuned. However, while we do appreciate the hard work and excellent showcases of strength, grace, and concentration offered by the athletes, this article focuses on the administrative side of the Olympics.
Join us if you want to learn more about all things involved when a city is granted host status for the Olympics. We cover everything - from the costs of building new stadiums or ensuring security throughout the event, and all the way to how much Beijing is paying for a slope entirely covered with artificial snow.
Beijing - the First City to Host Both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games
Beijing made history by being the first city to host both sets of the Olympics 14 years apart. But getting this entry in the history pages wasn’t a cheap endeavor for China. The 2008 Summer Olympics came with a total bill of $42 billion, making it the most expensive in history.
And while the 2022 Winter Olympics was advertised by the Chinese government as an event with a tight budget - the authorities saying it cost $3.9 billion - the total price tag can be even 10 times the reported amount. But how can the two figures be so different, you ask? Easy, because the Chinese government “forgot” to include some major projects in the bill for the Winter Olympics.
For starters, $9.2 billion was spent on a driverless bullet train to link the Olympic venues to Zhangjiakou. There’s also a $773.5 million investment for the new Beijing subway line and other billions to improve infrastructure in Hebei and Zhangjiakou.
To all that you can add the financial cost for all the artificial snow needed for the games to take place. 100% of all the snow at the 2022 Winter Olympics is man-made and that comes with a huge bill both financially and from an environmental point of view as well.
Egypt Plan to Bid for the 2036 Olympic Games
From the reality of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, we focus our attention towards what the future could bring. Even though not all Olympics games end up as costly as the ones in Beijing, the price tag is never low for such a huge event. If you want some more examples, you can check out some other recent Olympics costs for the cities and countries.
Hosting the Olympic games should be a reason for celebration in every country, especially since this would be a premiere for Africa. However, the youth and sports minister's intention to make Egypt one of the candidates for the 2036 Olympics has split the nation in half. On one side, Egyptians are proud that their country could become the first in Africa to host such an important event. On the other hand, the long history of huge bills for such an event sparked controversy since the country needs all the resources it can get to improve and develop.
“We are able to host any global sporting event” - Prof. Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, Egypt’s Minister of Youth and Sport, boldly declared in January. He highlighted that this statement isn’t just for media advertising and that there’s a real will behind this intention. Furthermore, he says that Egypt becoming one of the main economies in the Middle East by 2030 also aligns with his views.
It’s undeniable that hosting the Olympics 2036 would have a huge impact on Egypt and it wouldn’t be the country’s first attempt either. Alexandria lost three bids - for 1916 that were canceled because of World War I, the 1936 Games that eventually went to Berlin, and 1940 that was hosted by Tokyo. Cairo also expressed the intention to host the 2008 Summer Olympics but Beijing got that one eventually and it turned out to be one of the most expensive Olympics in history.
So, the worries of those that think the country could find a better use for funds that would be invested into stadiums and preparing for the Olympics are justified. However, nobody can underestimate the positive impact brought by such an event. Especially when Egypt already seems to have paved the way by hosting the pentathlon World Championship in 2017 and 2021, four editions of the Africa Cup of Nations (most recent in 2019), and the Handball World Cup.
Besides a huge bill for hosting the Olympics, the human rights situation in the country could be another obstacle in Egypt’s plans. According to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the situation steadily deteriorated under President Al-Sisi. However, it wouldn’t be the first time when the Olympics bring the opportunity of dialogue and positive change for the countries hosting it. So, everything is still possible and only time will tell if we’ll have an African host country in the premiere for 2036.