The slicing of skates flying across the ice. The swishing of skiers sweeping back and forth across the snow-covered mountain.
Thousands of people watching in the stands. Billions watching at home.
The Olympic Games is incomparable to anything else. It’s the most epic sporting event, admired from all around the world.
Right now the world is preparing for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea starting Feb. 9.
But an event of this scale racks up some serious expense.
According to the Oxford Olympic Study 2016, the past 13 Olympics have gone over the initially estimated budget. Ranging from two per cent over to 289 per cent over. Spending 289 per cent more is a shocking number, that’s almost triple the expectation.
Even if a country is in strong economic standing when they bid on hosting the event, shelling out triple the estimated cost is an extreme drain.
So there’s the question: is it worth it?
The Olympics highlight sports that otherwise get very little to no media attention. There are very few people who sit down on an average Sunday to watch bobsledding, but during the Olympics, it’s a well-watched event.
Thanks to Heather Moyse, parts of PEI shut down to watch her bobsled runs in 2014. Then the people of PEI talked about her gold medal for the next six months.
It also gives young athletes of these sports something to aspire to. Young Canadian hockey players dream of playing in the NHL and winning the Stanley Cup. Young figure skater dreams of winning an Olympic medal.
It gives athletes an ultimate goal.
The Olympics isn’t just an athletes event though. The 2016 Rio Olympics had 3.6 billion television viewers.
People who would never watch sports any other time of the year are glued to their television during the Olympics. I can say this with certainty because I am one of those people.
I’ll watch an NHL game if the people in the room want to but chances are my phone will be more interesting than the game.
But during the Olympics? I’ll be perched on the edge of my seat while Team Canada and Russia are playing. You will be shushed if you try and talk.
There isn’t a definitive answer as to why one hockey game is more interesting than the other, but the fact that it is Canada as a nation against other countries is an aspect of it.
I’m competitive. Team Canada is something to identify with. When the team is representing the country, it makes the people sitting in their living rooms feel as though they are apart of it.
It’s national pride. Everyone wants to prove that their country is the best. The nation vigilantly monitors the medal standings and talk about the athletes’ successes. It’s exciting to see how many talented people are raised in Canada.
The price is hefty to host, and there are costs associated with sending athletes, but the Olympics creates a sense of pride that is inimitable. It’s comradery within a whole nation. It unites countries from all over the world.
The Olympics have a strong history. The Olympics are worth more than what’s on a price tag.