On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee voted to award bids to Los Angeles and Paris in 2024 and 2028.
In unorthodox fashion, the IOC did not assign either city the games specifically, but instead nominated both cities for the two dates and they’ll figure the rest out later.
The Olympics are fun and good when you’re watching amazing feats of athleticism and they’re often littered with inspirational stories of athletes overcoming great obstacles to reach their destination.
But, in reality, the Olympics are very, very bad.
The governing body of the Olympics, the IOC, is one of the most corrupt, least transparent, and greedy organizations in the world.
It is an organization that seeks to enrich itself and the millionaires and billionaires that fund and promote the IOC.
Hiding behind the veil of the Olympics, and all of the rich symbolism therein, the IOC leaves host cities in financial and social ruin.
Look at the state of Rio de Janeiro, the host of the 2016 Olympics, which, as of last week, is asking the IOC for help to pay back more than $40 million to creditors.
Between the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, Brazil, and specifically Rio, have been left millions in debt and saddled with a throng of unused hulking structures built for the games.
USA Today reports how Rio has found difficulty actually using the stuff built during the Olympics,
“Some infrastructure built for the Olympics has found uses — a subway line, a renovated port, and high-speed bus lines. But sporting venues are mostly vacant, a $20 million Olympic golf course is struggling to find players, and fewer than 10% of the apartments in the 3,600-unit Athletes Village are reported to have found buyers.”
While the 2016 Olympics left both city and country in debt and an entire gaggle of unused facilities, there were also broad human rights abuses inflicted on the poorest and most disadvantaged communities.
Citizens living in the ‘favelas’ of Rio were evicted to build high-speed rails and other infrastructural aspects of the Olympics. Police presence grew massively in these communities in an effort to keep them away from the games. Organizers even implemented massive colorful walls to hide the favelas from travelers arriving at the airports.
Rio literally walled off its poorest neighborhoods in an effort to keep the impoverished out of sight of the moneyed Olympic organizers and corporate sponsors.
So, after the economic and sociological disaster of the 2016 Olympics, which can be seen plain as day, why does L.A. want the Olympics?
Working hard to get the Olympics for the United States (L.A.). Stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2017
The Olympics will line the pockets of the millionaires and billionaires that go on to fund it, and be a catalyst for vibrant Nationalism that… certain people feed off of.
But Los Angeles has hosted the Olympics before. In 1984, at the height of the Reagan era, the Olympics came to L.A. and were seen as a massive success.
Peter Uebberoth, the Olympics organizer, won Time’s Man of the Year and became commissioner of Major League Baseball. Organizers reported a surplus of over $200 million and everyone involved was happier and richer.
But as Dave Zirin wrote in a 2012 article for The Nation, the 1984 Olympics were also the beginning of infamous L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates’ militaristic police tactics and presence in L.A.’s poorest neighborhoods.
“The Olympics weren’t a glorious affair for everyone. Gates kept calm by expanding his infamous police gang sweeps (later immortalized in the NWA video for Straight Outta Compton) and keeping entire areas of the city, especially South Central and East LA, under conditions of military occupation. Politicians and judges conspired to revive old, anti-syndicalist laws to jail masses of black youth, though the overwhelming numbers of people arrested were never charged.”
In his article, Zirin draws a straight line between the 1984 Olympic Games, the police tactics that began there, and the 1992 Rodney King riots.
Naturally, the news of Los Angeles’ accepted bid for either the 2024 or 2028 Games has drawn massive scrutiny.
— Molly Lambert (@mollylambert) July 11, 2017
Groups like No Olympics LA have sprung up, trying to fight the Olympics and the impending economic and social fallout.
One of the most worrying aspects of the L.A. Games is the looming threat to immigrant families, specifically hispanic communities (which now make up almost 50% of L.A.’s population).
Support LA Olympic bid, you also support LA not being a sanctuary city. Prereq for Trump for any city hosting games. City will crawl w/ICE https://t.co/S41tZ3hgwk
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) July 11, 2017
If Los Angeles forfeits its sanctuary status, which seems to be inevitable in “Trump’s Olympics,” (ugh) the already rampaging Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will run riot on immigrant communities in Southern California.
The IOC, Donald Trump, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti all want the L.A. Olympics for obvious reasons. Everyone will get paid, Trump will get his moment of nationalistic glory, and Eric Garcetti will see his political star rise.
None of those things are good, the Olympics are bad, and the Los Angeles Games will hurt the most vulnerable communities.
There’s a lot of time between now and 2024 or 2028, here’s to hoping the IOC collapses in on itself and we never have to deal with this again.