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The Olympic Reader

By The Beachwood Relevant Books Affairs Desk

A few excerpts from Christopher Shaw's Five Ring Circus: Myths and Realities of the Olympic Games, and then an Olympic bookshelf.

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Gleaned from Shaw: It's always about real estate. There is always overspending. The pitch is always about your city being considered "world-class." The promised jobs, tourism and legacy rarely materialize.

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"The IOC and the local Games organizers were selling dreams, not facts. Games critics - academics and investigative journalists - labored mightily to provide a solid base of countervailing facts and figures but were simply incapable of disconnecting the Olympic dreams in the minds of most of the citizenry from Olympic realities on the ground. Much of the public simply didn't seem to care that facts didn't match the glowing expectations and promises. It was simply surreal, as if there were two parallel Olympic worlds that never coincided. Indeed, there were very different worlds, not in the sense of geography, but rather as rhetorical domains: The dominant one belonged to the IOC and its coterie of camp followers, the bid cities' Games organizers, a compliant media, politicians of all stripes and, not least, the special business interests with the most to gain. In due course, the latter would literally own terrain, but to get there they needed to piggyback on the IOC's ownership of something more fundamental: the 'frame'."

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"I think if people expect the Olympics to be a money-making enterprise, they will be disappointed. If they are looking for economic development to follow the Olympics, most likely they will be disappointed."

- Mitt Romney, Vancouver Sun, 2006

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"Based on the 13 Summer Games between 1964 in Tokyo and London in 2012, the overall costs have exceeded a billion dollars ten times, with a net profit only once."

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"The exception to this carnage was for Los Angeles that had no infrastructure costs to speak of . . . The Winter Games show a similar pattern."

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"In fact, all expenses versus all returns laid out shows that the various levels of government - that is the taxpayer - take a serious hit.

"This has been the trend for all of the Olympic Games back to Los Angeles."

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"In every city it examined, the Olympic Games - accidentally or deliberately - have become a catalyst for mass evictions and impoverishment."
- George Monbiot

- Olympic Industry Resistance: Challenging Olympic Power and Propaganda. By Helen Lesnkyj.

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The Lords of the Rings, The New Lords of the Rings and The Great Olympic Swindle. By Andrew Jennings.

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"The Olympic Myth of Calgary," Toronto Star. By Thomas Walkom.



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Posted on April 23, 2009


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