Topic: Mitigating Negative Impacts on Host Cities
Country: Republic of Korea
Delegate Name: Alex Mochel
International Olympic Committee
Mitigating Negative Impacts On Host Cities
Republic of Korea
Alex Mochel, Forest Hills Northern High School
The Olympics first began nearly 3000 years ago in Ancient Greece. Started by the Peloponnese and organized in Olympia, the games consisted of sports competitions that were held every four years. The first ideas for modern Olympics began as far back as 1821, but the first concrete revival of the games formally occurred in 1870 with the first return of the events. Restoration of the ancient Panathenaic stadium, designed for the Olympics three millennia earlier, was carried out. The stadium continued to host the games until 1900, when they moved abroad. Since 1900, 23 countries have hosted the Olympic games across multiple cities and continents. Each city has had a unique number of athletes and participants, but the trend has been relatively similar; smaller countries experience greater difficulty in hosting events of the same caliber as the larger ones. Specifically, ongoing debt from construction, unnecessary infrastructure, unfair displacement of citizens, significant price increases, and lack of respect for the host city all negatively impact host cities and countries. Since the modern Olympics began, only one host city has profited from the games.
The 2018 winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, cost the nation 14 billion dollars in set-up costs, the majority of the money going directly to construction efforts in hotels and game-related infrastructure. Since the games, Pyeongchang has made little of its money back and will continue struggling beneath its enormous weight for decades. The I-Want resort, built with 200 rooms to carry the massive influx of tourists, now sits with only 17 rooms occupied per week. As for the Olympic village and sports-related constructions on which the nation spent 9 billion, they will never be able to return any funds back to the city. Recent estimations have shown that it may take over 30 years to pay back the enormous debt. The millions of dollars supposedly invested by tourists in the host city’s economy have long since dried up. Much of the Olympic Village remains intact in Pyeongchang and appears as a ghost town to its residents. The thousands of jobs that were provided by the construction of these sites were given to already employed workers and attracted little to no new citizens.
With respect to this data and the unique situation, host cities struggle in, the specific situations Pyeongchang and the Republic of Korea face are different. The Republic of Korea is the only non-A-5 country to have hosted the Olympics in the last 13 years and, as such, has significantly fewer resources to rebuild and mitigate the negative effects it currently suffers from.
The Republic of Korea recognizes that as a state with its own experiences with the negative impacts of the Olympics, it has a strong role in the development of a solution for this pervasive issue. Korea believes that solving this issue will not only benefit our nation’s struggles but also mitigate potential future issues and allow for an economically safer precedent for the games. The Republic of Korea looks forward to working with these nations and all other interested parties to create a cohesive solution in order to tackle this pervasive issue.