The 2012 Summer Olympics in London are probably the biggest waste of money since the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. They’re building arenas, transit networks and housing facilities that won’t find much use after the games, and restricting the rights of the people of London for security measures that probably won’t stop an attack. In a time of austerity, the Olympics will cost the city of London $14.5 billion that will never be made up for by whatever business the Olympics brings. Look at Athens; yes, the facilities are still in use, and the Olympic Village turned into housing, but it cost them $11.2 billion dollars in 2004, and the cost keeps rising with annual maintenance expenses estimated at $790 million. Meanwhile, the Greek government is using the excellent system of surveillance cameras and security infrastructure built for the games to crack down on protesters.
Of course, London already has a state of the art security system on par with what the Greeks built, so naturally the British government isn’t just going to settle for that. Not only are they expanding the number of CCTV cameras, they’re turning London into Baghdad; a luxurious Green Zone where the wealthy and powerful will be living, and a Red Zone where the rest of the populace has to deal with military checkpoints and incredible restrictions on their civil liberties. An aircraft carrier will be taking up residence in the Thames, to maintain a fleet of helicopters that will be patrolling the skies of London with snipers on board to “shoot down the pilots of terrorist airplanes.” The Army is setting up anti-aircraft missiles on the roofs of apartment and office buildings, prepared to shoot down anything that looks suspicious and let the debris fall down on the city. Don’t worry, they can only launch at the Prime Ministers direct order! Just how they’ll get those orders in time to shoot down a plane is, well, your guess is as good as mine is.
The rich people at the Games aren’t going to be the only ones protected at the expense of everyone else; the corporations that sponsor the Olympics will be too! If, say, a pub was to put up a sign inviting people to “Come celebrate the London Olympics with us,” the owner is guilty of a criminal act. Fans (and for that matter, athletes) can’t upload pictures or video of the games to the Internet, or they’ll be charged with a criminal offense. If somebody at the games wants to eat healthy, tough luck, the only food allowed in the facilities is food bought from the McDonald’s restaurants on site, as McDonald’s is the official restaurant of the Olympics.
On the bright side, Michael Phelps is poised to make his triumphant return to the pool, and I can’t wait to see if Ussain Bolt sets a new record! But personally, I would rather see it be done in some other country than the nationalist boondoggle that the Olympics has become. If we’re going to have the olympics, let’s have them in their home country, beneath the shadow of Mt. Olympus. God knows the Greeks could use the tourist money.