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Olympics? Fool's gold

| Monday, March 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

While Pittsburgh contemplates bidding on hosting the 2024 Olympics, it may be wise for the mayor and the Allegheny County chief executive to do some research to see how other cities made out as the result of hosting the games.

The Olympics are one of the most overrated events from a tourism-benefit perspective. The reality is that, with the exception of Barcelona, cities usually gain little or nothing, tourismwise, from hosting an Olympics, therefore making them a dubious and exorbitant investment.

Few, if any, cities ever attract the forecast number of tourists to their Olympics, nor as many as had been hoped for in the event's aftermath. Price-gouging by hotels and other cynical profiteering, or at least the expectation of it, sees to it that billions elect to stay at home and watch on television.

Everyone remembers Beijing (2008) and the so-called “Bird's Nest” stadium. The stadium has been a dud in terms of hosting major events, remaining embarrassingly underutilized.

Experts trace Greece's economic train wreck to the excessive debt incurred by the small country in hosting the games in Athens (2000).

Atlanta (1996) encountered major problems in transporting athletes and officials between venues, and then there was the nasty bombing incident.

Ed Liberatore

Turtle Creek

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