8 Times the Olympics Ruined the Economies of Host Cities

In a 2014 editorial in The Washington Post on the economics of the Olympics, Steve Blakely wrote, "Olympics typically lose money at taxpayer expense and leave no long-term economic benefits." Blakely is not alone in this thinking. Writing on the effects of the Olympics on host cities, Binyamin Appelbaum came to the conclusion that "there is strikingly little evidence that such events increase tourism or draw new investment. Spending lavishly on a short-lived event is, economically speaking, a dubious long-term strategy." There are exceptions: Los Angeles in '84 and Barcelona in '92 were both profitable Olympic games that boosted the local economy.

But sometimes, Olympic host city economic issues can be downright disastrous. Billions of dollars in debt passed on to taxpayers, recessions, squatters in Olympic Villages, so-called "white elephant" stadiums left crumbling, and much, much worse. It happens more than you might think. Read on for some of the worst all-time examples of economic issues following Olympic games and learn about the effects of the Olympics on host cities.