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December 2007
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Rant: 2012 Olympics Carnival Goes Critical

London bids for 2012 Olympics


That’s the only adjective to describe today’s news in the Evening Standard (and briefly on the Beeb before it seemed to mysteriously vanish!) that “The organisation in charge of keeping the costs of the 2012 Olympics down is to receive a £10 million bonus in recognition of its success”.

OK…let’s just rewind slightly…

Did I imagine it or isn’t the Olympic budget currently under scrutiny – largely because the estimated cost has exploded to a gobsmacking £9.3 billion – more than 4 times the original estimate (with 5 years still to run)?

And isn’t the budget expected to be rise even further?

What sort of contract rewards an organisation for this level of failure? And how much more would they be allowed to overspend before they lost their bonus?


I can remember exactly where I was when the announcement that London had won the Olympic bid flashed across the TV. I distinctly remember the mighty cheer that went up all around me.

And I distinctly remember thinking: You silly sods!

Let’s have a little look at a few recent facts:-

  • To my knowledge (feel free to correct me if I am wrong) the only publicly funded olympics that ever broke even, let alone made a profit was the Sydney Olympics.
  • With a very strong pound-to-[insert your foreign currency of choice here] ratio, the expected hordes of baffled tourists are likely to be watching their pennies (or more likely just wont be able to afford to come over in the first place). Unbelievably, the stinking rich don’t tend to turn up en masse for something as essentially proletarian as the olympics.
  • Our most recent large-scale redevelopment project of a major sporting facility (otherwise known as Wembley Stadium) eventually cost well over double the projected cost (£790 million) and took 3 years to build (eventually opening some 12 months later than expected).
    The commencement date of the Olympics is of course the only unmovable factor in the whole equation, and if you listen carefully, you may hear the sound of many hands in the construction industry being rubbed together in glee.
  • Anyone remember something called the Millennium Dome? Did you know that we will finally get it paid off around 2012? How much will the Olympics cost? So – we’ll have that paid off by…when?

Every pro-Olympics quango ever formed, trots out all the usual positives: re-development of decaying urban areas, international prestige, great for sport etc. And every time we fall for their line of BS and it ends up costing an amount of money so large that most of us can’t fully comprehend it. Meanwhile our roads, schools and hospitals continue to fall apart, essential services continue to be cut and costs increased. Taxes rise and we keep on paying…

All in all, it sure seems to be a helluva price tag for something that – like the millennium dome – will largely be forgotten less than 12 months after the last bunch of flag wavers board a jumbo jet and bugger off home.

Pour me another Sam…

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One Comment for: Rant: 2012 Olympics Carnival Goes Critical

  1. Visitor Comment # 1
    James Newitt : (Visitor)

    OK it costs a lot but what about the prestige? Um

Sorry, comments for this article (Rant: 2012 Olympics Carnival Goes Critical) are now closed.

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