Olympics that were financial flops

Published: August 2, 2012

With the London 2012 Summer Olympics under way, talk is already turning to how to measure the long-term success of the games. Unfortunately, the economic benefits of hosting an Olympics aren’t a slam dunk. While there have been several success stories — notably, the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Games and the Barcelona 1992 Summer Games — not all cities have fared as well over the long term. Some Olympic games are remembered in part for their huge cost overruns and the crippling debt loads that they left behind. Here are some examples of Olympics gone awry — at least from an economic standpoint.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Winter Olympics 2010

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The Olympic village was built in luxury fashion, with the intent to sell the units as upscale apartments after the games. The city covered the $1 billion cost and won’t recover its investment until all the units are sold. Two years later, most are still vacant.
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