Why host an Olympic Games?

Feb 6, 2014

The Sochi International Airport in Russia.
Credit Flickr - rapidtravelchai

The opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics will be held tomorrow, but some events begin today. Global competition to host the Olympic Games can be fierce, so what motivates officials to seek the Olympics? What have past host cities gotten out of all of the work and expense?

Joining us on Current State today is Eva Kassens-Noor, an assistant professor in MSU school of Planning, Design, and Construction with a joint appointment with the Global Urban Studies Program at MSU and the author of “Planning Olympic Legacies: Transport Dreams and Urban Realities”. Also with us today is Planning, Design, and Construction professor Mark Wilson, her colleague in a Massive Open Online Course being conducted during the Sochi Olympics, and chair of the International Geography Union’s Commission on Global Information Society.

Kassens-Noor says that there are two sides of the story for the Winter Olympics. On one side, the media is concentrating on the negatives before the games begin. However, Sochi becomes the successful underdog once the games commence. The other side tells the story of a country that is not fully developed.