For the last 2 weeks I’ve been blogging on the value of sports and on Tuesday I began to make a case for hosting the Olympic Games or any major games. Sport is an integral part of who I am. Perhaps I am passionate about exposing its benefits because I’ve seen how it has transformed my life.
I’ve always viewed my achievements has one in spite of the system, and do not want anyone to have to take the path I’ve taken. Let’s remember I’m only an athlete and have a life dedicated to healthy living because I was discovered working at McDonald’s one day. Before that point I didn’t realize how sports actually raised my chances of success academically and in life. For my entire athletic career I’ve had to train in the USA because of a lack of facility and coaches.
And in all of this I wonder, how many people failed to achieve more because there wasn’t a Canadian system in place to fully support their development. The success of sports correlates with a country’s economic success while promoting health and education. What other factor has this magnitude on a country???
Many people will site Montreal 1976 as an example of the expense/failure with hosting a major game. Yet, few fail to realize the infrastructure improvements (such as transportation) which tagged a large portion of the bill, have allowed Montreal to benefit as a direct result to this date. From an athletic stand point, the legacy of hosting the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games can be seen in the large presence of Quebec athletes on most major games team. They have a system of sustainable performances in summer Olympic sports which no other province has.
Similarly, Barcelona’s hosting of the 1992 Olympic Games has single handedly transformed that city making it a tourist hot bed. Because of the Olympic Games, the port and coast of the city underwent an overhaul resulting in an artificial beach and waterside cultural area which attracts tourists. Additionally, low-income housing became possible to residents of the area.
The success seems to rest on the well planning of a bidding committee, which promotes infrastructures and improvement of a city. Canada consistently fails to underperform at the summer Olympic Games because we don’t have facilities in place.
Contrast this to hockey which most Canadians treasure and will often confuse with lacrosse as our national sport. In every urban city there is an ice rink. Is it any wonder we are strong in hockey??? Geeze, I wonder what that it would be like if in every major city in Canada we had a track – which by the way has a low overhead cost to maintain, accessible to everyone and promotes healthy living?
Canada, we are in desperate need of hosting a major summer games! I’m so grateful that Toronto will be hosting the 2015 Pan American Games and has a phenomenal plan in place. Incidentally, it will be the largest multisport game Canada has ever hosted, including the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.
Could this be the beginning of even greater things to come? I think so…
And just in case you have any further doubts of hosting a major game, see below for some of the benefits previous host cities have gained:
A Snapshot View of Benefits of Previous Major Games
2010 Vancouver Olympic Games
· More than 45,500 jobs created
· Over $463 million in tourism spending
· Venue construction generated $1.22 billion in activity
· $2.3 billion in real GDP for B.C
· Hotel revenues $130 million higher than projected
2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games
· Over 3.4 billion in total economic impact
· Over 6,980 FTE Jobs created in East Manchester and surrounding areas leading up to the Games
· 35% increase in the contribution of tourism to regional GDP
· 7% increase in trips to Greater Manchester by overseas residents and 29% increase in expenditure (2000-20002)
· Improvement in rank from 19th to 13th in European Cities Monitor for business locations
2000 Sydney Olympic Games
· Over $3 billion in total business outcomes
· Over $600 million in new business investment
· Almost $2 billion in post-Games sports infrastructure and service contracts
· Over$6 billion in tourism spending during 2001
· The equivalent of $6.1billion worth of international exposure for Sydney, New South Wales, and Australia
· Injection of over $6 billion in infrastructure developments in New South Wales
· Injection of over $1.2 billion of convention business for New South Wales from 1993 -2007
(*info based upon longitudinal research findings of 2015 Pan American Games Committee)
Desiring a change in how Canadians view sports,
Nicole W. Forrester
Olympian, PhD Candidate
Canadian Olympic Committee Member
2015 Pan American Games, Athlete Advisory Council Member