5 Biggest financial disasters in Olympic history

IOC Flag
IOC Flag

Certainly, the highest veneration that an athlete can achieve has to be his/her name on the star-studded Olympics winners tally. The domain and aura of Olympics are majestic enough to enthral the whole nation as well as the entire world for the years to come. It can even be touted as a grand achievement for a Nation, enough to discuss it in the textbooks of the children.

Every country takes serious consideration before bidding for such a fervent International event as the successful event will increase the respect at the global level. There are several criteria that have to be fulfilled before organizing a grandiose event, which in itself are difficult to achieve.

2004 Athens Olympics protest
2004 Athens Olympics protest

Also, there are several factors which host nation considers before bidding including how it will help to grow the local economy, what type of image will be reflected on the International stage and how to convert such opportunity into an overall financially profitable event.

Bidding for hosting the various international events is highly inveighed whether it is about organizing FIFA, FIBA or U-19 tournaments or Olympics.

Even after so many checks and excellent expertise available with them, sometimes, the hosts are not able to pull off the event. Sometimes such situations are exacerbated to the extent of proving to be a complete debacle, more remembered for its failure than its success. These problems can arise from various sources such as financial mismanagement, events mismanagement or security failures. Herein, security failure is the most serious concern which the hosts must look for, as the reputation of the nation is at the stake.

Today we will go through such Olympics events, which ended up in a debacle in the modern-day Olympics. Here is my compilation.

#5 Berlin Olympics - 1936

Fervent Fuherer
Fervent Fuherer

An ardent athletics fan will certainly know what Jesse Owens did on track was more piercing than a bullet to Germany in 1936 Olympics. Though the 1936 Olympics was originally granted to Republican Germany in 1931 but finally ended up in the lap of the 'Fuhrer' after becoming chancellor in 1933.

Even the Olympic events became part of the Nazi propaganda and no one would have ever seen so many swastika flags in a place. Hitler had been quite vocal and evasively critical of the American team for their contingent consisting of Black Americans. There were several incidents when Hitler did not give the medals to the black Americans and even left the event in between just to avoid the winning ceremony of the Non-Aryans in the Berlin.

4 Gold won by Jesse Owens: Destroying Anti Semitism
4 Gold won by Jesse Owens: Destroying Anti Semitism

The idea of Aryan supremacy and anti-Semitism was jolted by Jesse Owen's four subsequent Gold medals in 100mtr, 200mtr, 100*4mtr and long jump. The despotic leader again faced another conundrum when British India team was 4-0 up at halftime against the host. Hitler immediately left the stadium as he could not see Germans losing. Dhyan Chand's men came victorious 8-1 against Nazi Germany.

#4 Moscow (Chemists Games vs Olympics games) - 1980

of 1980 Olympics

Firstly the boycot of games by Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the USA solely on the basis of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was the bad omen. Secondly, the ripple effect of USA withdrawal from the Olympics Games caused 64 other withdrawal from the Olympics and a few among participants chose to march under the Olympic flag in order to show them criticism.

As a result, only 80 nations participated in the Games. Games were overall topped by the Soviet Union, followed by the German Democratic Republic, subsequently by Bulgaria, and then Cuba. Spirit of the Games was severely under attack as most of the victors were on drugs, took heavy steroids and amphetamines.

Later revelations shocked everyone when few dope programs were found to be state-sponsored. This nefariousness later earned the apt title of 'CHEMISTS OLYMPICS'. The first documented case of blood doping was recorded in 1980 Olympics.

#3 Athens - 2004

Ruined Olympic Site
Ruined Olympic Site

Greeks seem to have learned nothing from the Montreal Olympics repercussions in 1976 as they moved directly into a pitfall in 2004.

The decision of building the permanent stadiums financed purely by a government infrastructure program proved to be a debacle. There was a miscalculation on part of organizers as to how exactly the required revenue will be generated.

The games were pulled off in a majestic manner but the aftermath was very harmful to the greek economy as it contributed to the economic crises which were visible after the 2008 market crash


The debt problem of Greece was aggravated by the 2004 Olympics hosting. The government of Greece is now looking to sell the land and property of the 2004 Olympics to the private companies in order to compensate for all the long-term losses it had rendered. Several private companies have shown interest to use the 2004 Olympics site.

It is hard to imagine, such wonderful facilities are going to be in the waste.

#2 Atlanta Olympics - 1996

Park after Blast
Park after Blast

Nothing could be worse than an extremist group which has decided to kill the innocent spectators just to convey their message. This incident would have been far worse if the legendary guard Richard Jewel had not observed an unattended bag in Centennial Olympics Park, which had 40 pounds pipe bomb in it.

His quick response to the bag alerted the local police and started the evacuation. Two people died after the blast and injured more than 100 people. This was the second time when Olympics events had been under the attack of the terrorists.

Later an American domestic terrorist 'Eric Rudolph' was convicted who was fanatically driven by his anti-abortion and anti-gay emotions before the blasts and sentenced life imprisonment without any parole. It again raised the questions on the security norms followed by the International Olympic Committee as no-one wants to gamble the life of the athletes.

#1 Munich Massacre - 1972

Terrorists Going to Athletes
Terrorists Going to Athletes

No one would have ever imagined this act of ignominy until it occurred in the 1972 Munich Olympics. Terrorists belonging to Black September and Neo-Nazi group colluded to blot the 1972 Munich Olympics.

8 terrorists managed to get over the fence and crossed two apartments to reach the building where the athletes were resting. After capturing the athletes, when Youssef Romano ' six-day war veteran' showed resistance, he was first castrated and then killed. Two athletes were killed in that premises. 9 athletes were taken as hostage and demand of releasing 234 terrorists jailed in Israel was made.

The rescue mission to save the athletes by West Germany police failed and killed the remaining 9 athletes were gunned down by the terrorists at the airport. This was the darkest day of the history of Olympics, and the greatest fear in the sporting history was realized.

Quick Links

Edited by Shruti Sadbhav
Be the first one to comment