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The following work is to describe the social and economic advantages and disadvantages of the Olympic Games being held in China. The impact of this event held in China was very significant. It provided a means of job creation, improved infrastructure of medical and lodging facilities as well as roads and transit systems. China showed the rest of the world that they were major contenders via athletics, technology and progressive economics. The model used in these findings was the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
The Olympic Games originated in Olympia many centuries ago. The first modern Olympics took place in 1896 in Athens, Greece. The man responsible for its rebirth was a Frenchman named Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who presented the idea in 1894. His original thought was to unveil the modern Games in 1900 in his native Paris, but delegates from 34 countries were so enthralled with the concept that they convinced him to move the Games up to 1896 and have Athens serve as the first host.
The Olympic games can be considered to be one of the largest sporting events of the year. The games are held in different countries every 4 years and attract millions of people who are either spectating, competing, volunteering, or working in the Olympics. The games are divided into two events: The Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics. The events occur every four years, as previously stated, but they alternate every two years. Hosting the Olympics has tremendous advantages for a country, but it also has its disadvantages. So what impact did the Olympics have on China?
Cities which host the Olympics can be assured of a persistent increase in recognition and tourism – Barcelona, Sydney, Atlanta and Beijing have all seen this from hosting the Olympics (Champions 2016). The 2008 Olympics were held in Beijing, China due to the country’s progress from a largely rural society more open, wealthy and mainly urban society (Yambilla, 2015). According to an article written by Wasserstrom (2012), Westerners seemed so concerned about the question of whether hosting the Olympics would push China toward Western-style political reforms, and no one seemed concerned about the question of whether, instead of us changing China, China might actually change us. China hosting the Olympics helped them to gain a greater international acceptance (Yambilla, 2015). They also proved that they were a contender in sports. Olympic Summer Games provide an opportunity to demonstrate to the world how “democratic, open, civilized, friendly, and harmonious” China is. It gives the opportunity for China to benefit economically by way of tourism and created jobs. According to Sands (2008), to the Chinese government, hosting the Olympics also signified a turning point in its economic development. He further states that it provided an opportunity to begin the shift from an economy based on being the assembly platform for global manufacturing to one geared to providing goods and services for China’s growing and prosperous middle class. The Chinese government has invested billions of dollars in sports facilities, housing, roads, mass transit systems, and other infrastructure (Sands 2008). The Chinese government prioritized developing a mass transit system. Prior to this system the city only had two subway lines (Laidlaw 2008). It has been said that by the start of the Olympics, seven subway light rail lines were added (Laidlaw). This had the potential to further crowd the country. A total of thirty-seven were built in China leading up to the Olympics that can be used in future events (Laidlaw 2008). They’ve built hotels and hospitals.
The raised profile from hosting the Olympic Games in China can be important for obtaining economic benefits, such as attracting tourists and business investments. The long-term investment which comes from preparing for a major event will ensure that the city and country will have a legacy of improved sporting venues (Champions 2016). This will be important for investments in the city to cover fund infrastructure and transport to cater the mass number of potential foreigners who enter the city in the future as tourist. According to Champions (2016), there has been significant investment in public transport projects around London. This will leave a lasting legacy for residents of London, especially those in the East End.
Job creation is a major benefit of hosting the Olympics. As one can imagine, in order to pull off a major event like the Olympics successfully, years of planning, investing, building and event managing are necessary. Of these requirements jobs are created. Obviously, there would be a host of construction jobs available. Improvements to roads would be necessary for the influx of new visitors. There may be a need for more facilities or the improvement of current facilities, such as hospitals and hotels. Vendors will be needed for the sale of food and other merchandise such as t-shirts and other memorabilia. Parking officials will be in demand, chauffeurs will be needed as well as tour guides.
A major sporting event can create enthusiasm and excitement ahead of the occasion, during the event and for months or even years afterwards, says Champion (2016). He goes on to say that it can also help promote uptake of sport which has lasting benefits for the nation’s health and lead to a rise in volunteerism, which promotes civic virtues. The Olympics always see a surge in visitors and media as the greatest sportspeople on earth come to town. This will provide a sudden increase in spending and injection of money into the local economy for a number of weeks (Champion 2016).
Just as there are advantages for China to host the Olympics, there are also disadvantages. City branding is a common practice adopted by many cities in the context of intensified urban competition for mobile resources, markets, opportunities and attention (Yambilla 2015). Expenses for hosting the Olympics can run well into the billion-dollar category. The amount of money spent on the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing was an estimaded $300 million (Yambilla 2015). $22.8 billion was estimated to have been spent on game related infrastructure (Yambilla 2015). The overall expense was estimated to have totaled. $40 billion (Yambilla 2015). Host countries see a GDP decline and debt accumulation. Not only do host countries experience a decline in the GDP growth a year after the games but they also incur debt. At the time the Beijing Olympics commenced, former host cities Montreal (1976), Barcelona (1992), Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004) will still be paying off debt acquired from hosting the previous Games. A survey by the Bank of China examined 12 Olympic Games over 60 years, and assessed that most economies suffered from a post Olympics effect (Nagle 2010). According to the study, Nagle (2010) notes, ‘In nine of the 12 Olympics, including the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona, the hosts’ GDP growth in the eight years following the Games was 0.4 to 2.5 percent lower than during the eight years prior to the event.’ Those jobs that were created leading up to the Olympics are no longer secured after the event is over. The construction work on the roads and facilities is done. Foreigners return to their home countries, so tourism has declined thus declining sales from food vendors souvenir sales. Some cities have seen an increase in tax post games to finance a loss of putting on the sporting event (Pettinger 2017). The post-games cost of London is uncertain. This increase in cost has made hosting the Olympics less politically popular (Pettinger 2017).
Major sporting events increasingly have to implement higher levels of security. This is both costly and can restrict freedom of movement of local citizens during games (Pettinger 2017). Increased crime was also an issue. In August of 2008 in the People’s Republic of China, two American tourists and their Chinese tour guide were stabbed at the historic Beijing Drum Tower; one of the tourists was killed (Gregory 2008). Todd Bachman, of Lakeville, Minn., his wife Barbara and their female Chinese tour guide were stabbed by a man identified as Tang Yongming, at a popular tourist spot, the Drum Tower, a Dynasty-era building once used to tell time (Gregory 2008).
China’s recent remarkable economic achievements have earned it considerable respect as a global power with the fastest growing economy and holding the largest foreign reserves(Sands 2008). As a consequence of economic success, the 2008 Olympics were offered to Beijing because the city had built sufficient infrastructure and accumulated ample resources to make the event magnificent (Lee 2010). The Olympics being held in china created an ample amount of jobs and helped to initiate brand new infrastructure in a country that will continue to reap the benefits (Lee 2010). Under the slogan “One World One Dream” the Games passed as China’s successful coming out party, despite intense scrutiny, speculation and setbacks (Lee 2010). Broadly, the Olympic event was used to portray China as a new and modern nation with a glorious past; emerging global leader in economics, technology and environmental issues; and an improving human rights record (Sands 2008). China’s economy is only beginning to feel the positive impact of many projects associated with the Olympics. A successful Olympics accelerated China’s opening to foreign investment, foreign ideas, and internationalization (Sands 2008). Though it is difficult to measure human rights and human freedom, China is unquestionably more open and accessible than ever before in its history.
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