Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Why Not Abolish the Olympics?

Oct 31, 2013

Abolish the Canadian Senate? Sure, why not? But while we're at it, let's abolish the Olympics as well.

Yesterday the CBC reminded us that it is 100 days until the Sochi Games and in the weeks ahead the public broadcaster will air constant updates and features on "our" athletes. But personally I am disappointed that the Mother Corp is even involved.

The Olympics have become a wasteful scandal. By some estimates the Sochi Games will cost upwards of $50 billion. (That compares to the $7 billion cost of our own games in Vancouver.) Much of this money has gone to cronies of the government in the form of kickbacks and untendered contracts.

The Olympics have clearly become an excuse to redistribute public dollars into the hands of the one percent.

And it is not just Sochi. One of the major Olympics-related projects in Vancouver was the reconstruction of the highway between Vancouver and the athletic venues at Whistler, a highway that is now used primarily by well-to-do skiers visiting their weekend condos. The Olympics, no matter where they are held, distort public spending priorities away from social programs toward athletic palaces and debatable infrastructure projects.

The Olympics are not about sport. There are plenty of international meets and championships to keep the athletes busy. The Olympics are about money. If there was a petition asking that we stop this embarrassing spendathon and abolish the Games, I'd sign it.