It takes a lot of money to be able to host the Olympics Games. A host nation must be ready to construct new, awe-inspiring buildings. They must be ready to accommodate the influx of visitors and provide excellent public transportation. Security is heightened and staff is increased on all levels. There is also the expense of an opening ceremony, which the public has come to expect to be a dazzling show of artistic mastery. These preparations take a lot of money to get underway, yet there are those host nations that surpass expectation, and when they do the bill is simply mind-boggling. The following is a list of the ten most expensive games in the Modern Olympic Era.
10. 1976 Summer Olympics – Montreal, Canada: $1.2 Billion
On May 12, 1970, Canada won the bid to host the 1976 summer games. This was the first Olympic Games they hosted and they wanted to make them memorable. The games were officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II and were hosted in dozens of venues throughout the Montreal area. The two-week ceremony cost Canada $1.2 billion. The host nation ranked 27th overall in the medal count.
9. 1996 Summer Olympics – Atlanta, USA: $1.8 Billion
On September 18, 1990, Atlanta won the right to host the 1996 Summer Games. Known unofficially as the Centennial Olympics, the motto for the games was “The Celebration of the Century.” President Bill Clinton officially opened the ceremonies. Between the two-week ceremony, improving public transportation, expanding the airport and building the Olympic village, the total cost for the games came out to $1.8 billion. That year the United States led the medal count with 101 medals.
8. 1980 Summer Olympics – Moscow, Soviet Union: $2 Billion
On October 23, 1974 Moscow won the bid to host the 1980 Summer Games. When it came time for the actual games to commence, 66 countries followed the USA’s lead boycotting the event in protest of the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Regardless of this debacle, the games cost the Soviet Union approximately $2 billion. The host city ranked first in the medal count with a total of 195 medals.
7. 2000 Summer Olympics – Sydney, Australia: $3.8 Billion
The Sydney Games, also known as the Millennium Olympic Games, was held from September 15 to October 1, 2000. The motto for the games was, “Share the Spirit – Dare to Dream.” Over 10 thousand athletes from 199 nations participated in the games which were held throughout various venues. With a dazzling opening ceremony, the total cost for the games topped $3.8 billion. The host nation came in 4th place in the medal count, with a total of 58 medals.
6. 1988 Summer Olympics – Seoul, South Korea: $4 Billion
On September 30, 1981 Seoul was chosen to host the 1988 Summer Games . Over 8 thousand athletes from 160 nations participated in the games. The opening ceremony was held in the daytime for the last time in Olympic History. The Soviet Union and East Germany played in their last games, as both of those nations ceased to exist by 1992. The games cost $4 billion. The host nation came in 4th in the medal count with a total of 33.
5. 1992 Summer Olympics – Barcelona, Spain: $9.2 Billion
The Barcelona Games marked the first time since 1972 that the Olympic Games had not been boycotted by any countries. Over 9 thousand athletes from 170 nations embraced the motto of the games, “Friends Forever.” The games were spread over 20 areas with dozens of sub-sites. The cost for the new construction and the magnificent opening ceremony was $9.2 billion. The host nation placed 6th in the medal count with a total of 22 medals.
4. 2004 Summer Olympics – Athens, Greece: $15 Billion
The summer games of 2004 were symbolic. It was the first time since 1896 that the Olympics had been held in Greece. Athens was also the first time that all the countries with a National Olympic Committee attended since 1996. Athens worked to the very last minute, constructing breath-taking venues for the games. The Olympic stadium was officially completed in August, the same month that the games began. Athens spent well over $15 billion to host the Olympics that year.
3. 2012 Summer Olympics – London, England: $17 Billion
The Summer Games of 2012, informally known as “London 2012,” was the first time women had been included on every level. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Brunei entered female athletes for the first time and womens boxing was added to the medal sports. The Games were televised all over the world, the opening ceremonies receiving critical acclaim. To host the most important event in sports cost in excess of $17 billion, largely thanks to a host nation that had an incredible volunteer army to help with every step of the project. England came in 3rd place in the medal count with a total of 65 medals.
2. 2008 Summer Olympics – Beijing, China: $40 Billion
The summer Games of 2008 were beyond what anyone would normally expect. China constructed 37 different venues to host the games, 12 of which were specifically made for their event. The public transportation system was expanded to accommodate the expected visitors. This was the first time that the summer Games were televised exclusively in high definition. With a much talked about opening ceremony and major reconstruction of the various venues, it cost near $40 billion to host the games. The host nation came in 1st in the medal count with a total of 100 medals.
1. 2014 Winter Olympics – Sochi, Russia: $50 Billion
The 2014 Winter Games will mark the first time the Russian Federation hosts the Olympics. Sochi is an isolated town near the Black Sea and a good bit of money had to be poured into the city to improve electricity, public transportation and telecommunications. They also had to construct new venues, an Olympic Park, and various other buildings to accommodate the athletes and media. It has been estimated that the bill to host the games is inching its way to upwards of $50 billion.
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