Nowadays, hosting the Olympics is essentially the international equivalent of throwing a Super Sweet Sixteen party: Totally over-the-top, designed to impress, and increasingly more trouble than they’re worth. For Japan, hosts of the 2020 summer Olympics, dreams of the "best Olympics ever" are already giving way to more mundane economic realities. Last year, the government scrapped Zaha Hadid’s ambitious stadium design because of opposition to its $2 billion price tag.
Now, a cost-cutting task force organized by Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, reports that the real expense of hosting the Olympics could be four times higher than originally believed—in excess of $29 trillion. The experts also claim that at least three of the planned Olympic venues (for rowing, canoe sprint, swimming, and volleyball) wouldn’t have enough use after the games, advising that their plans be ditched in favor of temporary structures.
Needless to say, Tokyo’s Olympics organizing committee is opposing these recommendations as passionately as a 16-year-old who’s just been told that her promised Porsche will actually be a Ford Pinto.
"This report has come out very suddenly and we were surprised and embarrassed to hear such comments," said Hiroshi Sato, Vice Director General of the organizing committee.
But Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has backed the report and encouraged Olympic organizers to look for other options, including temporary facilities.
- Tokyo Olympics hit by soaring costs and white-elephant warnings [Global Construction Review]