Most cities simply do not have the infrastructure required to withstand the two-week influx of athletes, coaches, fans, and media members. The money required to build state-of-the-art athletic facilities is skyrocketing, and academic research suggests spending billions on a two-week event is not a wise investment.
In the worst-case scenario for host cities, Olympic venues go unused after the games and become white elephants – total wastes of space and money. We’ve seen this at a number of different Olympic sites around the world. Of course, the reasons this happens are specific to each country: Sarajevo, for example, suffered from a gruesome war that caused the 1984 Winter Olympic venues to crumble. Nevertheless, these photos from Reuters, Getty Images, and others have become symbolic of the downside of hosting the Olympics.